New Street Consulting Group

How interim management can help plug the current skills gap

Andrew McIntee | 14 March 2022

“You can normally deploy an immediately available interim manager within a week from briefing”

Acute skills gaps combined with falling levels of unemployment have made it much harder for organisations to hire the talent they so desperately need. In this article, we explore the impact of the ‘Great Resignation’ and explain why interims can be a viable option to help companies deliver on their business critical projects.  

The demand for specialist interim talent shows no signs of abating. Andrew McIntee, Director at NSCG says, “Many of our clients are looking to grow, transform and change, and the pandemic has heightened that. What we’re seeing is that many organisations are going to market to hire niche specific skills all at the same time. They had paused on investment and change programmes and are now looking to reinvigorate and invest in various parts of their businesses.”

This has driven competition for key skills, which is why interim managers are so highly sought after, particularly across financial and professional services. He adds, “Interims with regulatory change and transformation experience are in high demand as financial services organisations seek to improve their customer outcomes and experience. As we’re coming out of the pandemic, companies are not only reactivating their change programmes but continuing with their digital transformation projects. We’re seeing demand for interims in all of these areas.”

“Interims are output-based professional change agents”

The ‘Great Resignation’ has been a gamechanger. “Many of the interim managers we’ve had relationships with over many years are deciding to do different things with their lives, sometimes completely tangential with what they were previously doing with us over the last 15 years. People are looking very differently at how they wish to engage with customers, whether in the office, remote or hybrid working,” notes McIntee. “The pandemic has been a catalyst for people to reset what they want to do over the next 10 years and some are taking a very different view.”

Many C-Suite individuals have re-evaluated and reconfigured their careers, joining the interim ranks. He adds, “The pandemic taught us that people can be more flexible with how they work and interim management is an enabler of that. Interims are output based professional change agents – so as long as they deliver, they can be more flexible as to where and how they do that. I can foresee more people leaving their permanent jobs for a more flexible way of working.”

Interim managers, unlike contractors, are senior grade level individuals who work closely with board stakeholders and directors to take ownership for programme objectives and milestones. Why are interims such an ideal resource? “Interims are highly skilled and can be rapidly deployed into companies. They understand the challenges, assimilate cultures, build internal relationships and are extremely output focused,” says McIntee. “Engaging with a professional interim manager is very different to an executive managing a gap between permanent employment. Interims possess specific skills, understand organisational challenges and get up to speed quickly.”

Looking at 2022 and beyond, McIntee is optimistic about the key role that interims will play. “Interims have always been highly valued but the current levels of demand for highly qualified interims are extremely strong. Organisations of all sizes are looking to invest in flexible talent to change their business models as a result of the pandemic. And as the recovery gathers pace, we firmly believe that interim managers are a very strong flexible resource to enable change and offer a genuine alternative to ‘Big Four’ consultancy businesses.”

 

Six reasons why you should hire an interim manager

1) Provide rapid cover for skill gaps
Interim management is a very strong channel to manage gaps rapidly, especially for those organisations expecting and experiencing significant skills gaps. “You can normally deploy an immediately available interim manager within a week from briefing,” says McIntee. Contrast with the permanent market where it can take months to hire.

2) Fast learners adept at adapting

Highly skilled at being parachuted into businesses where they don’t have immediate knowledge and understanding of key players, interims get up to speed quickly. “They are able to grasp challenges, assimilate cultures and build relationships from the off, which means they are able to add value straight away,” he adds.

3) Output focused, MI driven
As we’re coming out of the pandemic, organisations are looking to adapt and change their business models in often difficult markets. Interim managers are completely focused on deliverables that are agreed upon at the outset. McIntee explains, “They are set very clear objectives which not only enables effective change but also the measurement of success through exhaustive management information.”

4) Superior knowledge, faster results
It is common for organisations to hire interim managers that are more qualified than their permanent counterparts. “The experience of interims would be to a much higher level than a permanent job holder. It is that added knowledge that enables the quick transformation the organisation is looking for in a particular scenario,” notes McIntee.

5) A fresh perspective and ‘different voice’

The variety of experiences gained from a variety of projects allows interims to look at a business problem through a different lens, enabling effective business change. “Interims are professional change agents who provide third party insight and a different voice to the existing management team,” he states.

6) Leaders with first-rate technical and soft skills

“Interim management is often about leadership as well as stakeholder and relationship management,” McIntee remarks. “Interim managers are highly skilled at working with existing teams as a new team member very quickly, so they must have very strong soft and leadership skills in addition to their accomplished technical skills.”

 

New to the world of interim?

“We can provide advice on how you can use an interim manager, the types of interim manager that would be match your requirements and how you can get the most out of the relationship. We can also advise on how to budget and cost for an interim manager,” says McIntee. “And if you’ve never hired an interim before, we’d be happy to explain the process.”

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