Getting true value from interim management

Having provided interim HR specialists for the past seven years, I am often asked if I can provide statistics on the value of an interim manager.

Initially, organisations tend to look at the total cost of an interim and can hesitate at what appears to be a high cost, and rarely weigh up the contribution and return on this investment. However, the results in cost savings can often amount to thousands and, in some cases, millions, so organisations can no longer dismiss the savings they can make. Invariably, it is seen as a shrewd investment. It is not always easy to assess the cost savings, but hiring the right interim manager can add real value to an organisation.

To evaluate the outlay, the company wanting to utilise an interim must initially look at what those skills and abilities would cost on a permanent basis, and add the other expenses into this equation. These other costs will consist of recruitment, and benefits – including car allowance, holiday, employers’ national insurance contributions, bonuses, pension, health, and any other benefits they might offer. Therefore, the true expenditure for an employer based on a salary of £80,000 would typically equate to a minimum of £112,000. The cost of the interim can be measured on a daily/weekly basis, which will demonstrate their value.

There are other factors that need to be brought into the equation, such as securing an executive within a short timescale, and that the executive can hit the ground running, and is therefore effective in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months.

There are many examples. However, I believe a very good real-life illustration is where a company that was about to transfer 650 people under TUPE believed that they did not need to go through a consultation. Before completing the process, and as a precaution, they decided to bring in a very practiced mergers and acquisitions interim with considerable TUPE experience. This resulted in the company being saved from a considerable fine of 650 x a week’s pay x up to 13. The return on investment for this client is particularly high, and this organisation now retains this interim manager for all its merger activities.

There is additional value when using an interim manager, such as their ability to take on responsibility for a project or a specific role, bringing an external perspective and invariably an alternative and better way of doing things. An interim also acts as coach and mentor, and is able to transfer their knowledge in an effective manner.

HR has moved forward considerably over the years in terms of delivering human capital metrics to ensure return on investment. The same rules apply when hiring and managing interims.

Gail Bell is managing director of Interim Alliance, a specialist HR interim management provider.

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