What are the benefits of using an interim manager?
The benefits from using an interim manager are as many and varied as the business problems they address. Key ones include:
- Speed. Interim managers can be hired in days rather than months. For an organisation with business-critical skills gaps undergoing change and transformation, this speed is often essential to keep the business on track. As well as being able to start quickly, experienced interim managers can also get to grips with business challenges quickly often without a formal brief or induction and start adding value from day one.
- Flexibility. Often organisations need a leader to plug a specific skills gap for a period or to boost management and leadership resources during a period of transformation. Interims can be used for this purpose without requiring any long-term commitment. Interim managers charge only for the days worked with no additional NI payments, employee tax, holidays or pension payments and can also be on a recruited part-time or on a project basis if required.
- Accountability. Interim managers take responsibility for delivering agreed results. They are not there purely to advise but are accountable for implementing a change or project and delivering results that make a real difference.
- ROI. During times of change, organisations may find themselves with knowledge, skills and expertise gaps. Without plugging these gaps, the organisations will struggle to adapt to the change and deliver on their goals and in even some situations struggle to survive. The cost of failure to deliver change far outweighs the cost of hiring an interim manager.
- Independent fresh thinking. As an independent external resource, an interim manager can bring fresh thinking to an organisation and give an objective view of the situation at hand. Unencumbered by organisational politics and groupthink and not looking to further their career in the business they can address specific challenges from a neutral position and operate in a way that they think best for the business. This can be incredibly useful when hard and unpopular decisions need to be made.
- Commitment and focus. Interim managers are typically brought in at board level or at the request of the board to solve a specific business issue. They are committed and focused on the task at hand and therefore have a great ability to make change rapidly and deliver results. Interims rely on a strong track record and referrals and recommendations and so are driven and committed to delivering results for their clients.
The terms interims and contractors are often used interchangeably, with interim managers often wrongly being used to describe middle management short-term contract roles. However, there are several key differences between the two types of work:
- Interim managers typically operate at or near board level. Contract positions tend to be for professionals with a niche skillset whilst temping roles span from junior to manager level.
- Interims are required to make an immediate impact on the business. Usually overqualified for the role they are usually brought in to manage a project and/or a team to deliver a specific outcome.
- Interim management is not a trial for a permanent role. Contract positions can sometimes be used in this way.
There are some similarities in the responsibilities of interims and management consultants as well as overlap in some of the skillsets. However, there are clear differences between the two:
Implementation. Management consultants tend to consultant and provide guidance and recommendations where an interim will do that and then go on to deliver the proposed solution.
Motivation. It is in the interest of the management consultants to try to offer additional services or extend the length of the project. Interims rely on referrals and having a track record of delivering results quickly, so it is in their interest to do the job needed as efficiently as possible.
Skillset. Management consultants are often selected for project based on their availability. Interims are chosen purely for their specific skillset, reputation, experience and expertise. They will not swap in and out depending on other client work but stay focussed and committed to the assignment from beginning to end.
Control and accountability. Interims report directly to the client working with the internal team to deliver results. Management consultants report to their consultancy house and use the team at their consultancy for resource and support.