Ten reasons to employ an interim

Flexibility,
career control, variety – it’s easy enough to understand why people go into
interim management, but what’s in it for the employer? Most organisations call
in interims when faced with a specific range of challenges. Personnel Today
takes a look at the top 10 reasons for employing an interim.

1)
Crisis management

In
a crisis it’s experience that counts, and an interim manager (IM) can bring
much-needed calmness and perspective. It may be coming in to pick up the reins
when an executive has left mid-project or simply having someone on board who’s
been through a similar situation and come out the other end.

2)
Mentoring and development

Interims
need to keep up with the latest thinking in training and development.
Organisations will often tap into this knowledge and expertise for their own
staff, using IMs as mentors to bring on key executives. As disinterested
players they can, just as importantly, provide confidential, objective advice
to the CEO too. 

3)
Acquisition and integration

During
an acquisition or integration programme, firms often need specialists who’ve
been there before. Common projects include shedding or recruiting staff,
transferring staff under TUPE or simply making sure all sides know what is
going on and providing reassurance.

4)
Departure

Losing
a key executive is never easy, but it’s especially difficult if the loss is
unforeseen, for instance because of bereavement or poor performance. Where the
work cannot be put on hold for a replacement, an IM is the ideal stop-gap.
Critically, IMs will be expected to not only take over the role, but to develop
it.

5)
Turnaround/poor performance

The
granddaddy of interim roles, and the one IMs are most associated with.
Turnaround requires an experienced hand at the tiller, someone who’s seen it
all before and can be obviously in charge from day one. A senior interim is
often ideal for this sort of job, particularly if they can achieve a few ‘quick
wins’ to boost morale.

6)
International expansion

This
is becoming an increasingly important role for interims in the expanding global
market. Companies need people with expertise of foreign markets and will often
struggle to find such people internally. IMs will commonly deal with different
accounts structures or, more likely from the HR perspective, the maze of different
personnel, employment or health and safety legislation.

7)
Buy-ins/buy-outs

Here
the interim manager will normally be covering critical functions of an
organisation’s operation and providing a breathing space while a new permanent
team gets up and running. When a buy-in goes wrong, IMs can also be useful in
helping to find a new boardroom operation.

8)
Resource management

Organisations
are increasingly using interim managers simply to plug temporary senior level
executive holes on an ongoing basis. This might mean, for instance, managing an
IT or HR operation while the permanent staff are working on another project.
The key is that IMs are factored into the daily running of the organisation.

9)
A safe pair of hands

Even
if there is not a crisis, organisations sometimes simply need a safe pair of
hands to run projects, divisions or to keep things ticking over. Good examples
of this might be running an HR policy review or reviewing IT procedures. The
fact the interim does not have the same baggage as a permanent member of staff
will help.

10)
Start-ups

Less
of an issue than it once was, but for many entrepreneurs getting in an
experienced interim before permanent staff can be hired can be extremely
useful. IMs can help on things such as how to get the practical operation up
and running, how many people to recruit and over what timeframe, mentoring and
even how to phase out the interim operation.

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