5 Signs Interim Management Might Be a Better Choice Than a Full-Time Hire

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From migrating critical processes to the cloud and shifting to remote working to the Great Resignation and the Great Shakeup, HR professionals have adapted to a breakneck pace of change. And with an uncertain economy and an ever-changing corporate culture, the pace is not about to slow down.

The next year will certainly bring a host of new challenges, and there’s one that HR departments aren’t looking forward to: coping with the current high rate of staff turnover. HR managers are especially pressured when the game of musical chairs extends to the C-suite.

When interim management is the best option

Replacing senior management is disruptive and time-consuming, and it’s also costly. Successful search firms, tasked with finding permanent replacements for CEOs, CFOs and other senior company officials, often charge a third of the new executive’s first-year salary, or a flat rate that starts at 100 $000. And those are just the costs of executive search. Hiring, of course, comes with long-term contracts, benefits and severance packages that make it imperative that the new full-time executive is a good fit for the company for years to come. come.

Because of this daunting process, HR professionals often hire interim executives to fill C-suite gaps. Interims can be a convenient alternative to full-time employees and often bring with them experience and skills that enable an organization to stay on track in turbulent times.


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Over the coming year, HR departments will consider a range of different hiring scenarios to deal with economic headwinds and rapidly changing corporate culture. Many will decide if they need a new permanent full-time worker or if the relatively simple process of bringing in a temp manager will be the best option.

I’ve talked to hundreds of companies about both options and helped many of them find interim management. Below are five common scenarios where opting for an interim executive is likely the best choice.

A senior executive leaves suddenly

Executives part ways with a company for a variety of reasons. Sometimes an executive finds a better opportunity or leaves for personal reasons, or a company feels that the executive is no longer suitable. Whatever the reason, it is bad for companies to leave leadership positions vacant for a period of time.

At the same time, a high-level start often indicates that a company needs to make fundamental changes to move forward. This leaves HR departments in the unenviable position of finding a new “perfect match” quickly. An interim hire gives HR some breathing room, while sending a clear message to the market that the company is not a rudderless ship.

The interim can also assess and help resolve larger issues facing the business, as well as help determine the type of permanent leader that will be needed. They can help you with the search process and ensure a smooth transition.

The company is growing rapidly

A temp hire is a great option for companies that are losing a senior executive while experiencing rapid growth. Growth brings a host of new challenges, and overcoming them often requires new skills that aren’t necessarily found in-house. Some interim executives have extensive backgrounds in launching new products, entering new markets, or scaling a business. Temps can build business structures and processes that will later benefit a permanent executive.

The company is considering a merger or acquisition

Businesses need to create value quickly – and be able to show it – when potential acquirers turn around. Interim management can be an asset at a time like this. This is especially the case if the management team has lost one or more members, is pressed for time, or lacks in-depth experience of the M&A process.

Many interims, especially CFOs, are experts in the due diligence process and other aspects of mergers and acquisitions. The existing C suite may have many useful skills for the arduous process of negotiation, but many companies benefit from harnessing specific expertise in this area and getting it on demand.

The business is in trouble

Few executives specifically train for worst-case scenarios. But many interim executives are trained to shine when a company is “on fire.” These “black swan” scenarios can range from management misalignment, spiraling costs, fierce competition, fraud, or unethical practices, and they can rock an organization to its core. .

This is often the time when a company needs to see the dilemma from a new angle. Interim executives — especially those who are “fixers” — offer that perspective and more. They design solutions that stem from years of experience in and out of “burning buildings”.

The company is on the verge of a major change

ERP implementations, product launches, deployments of new manufacturing facilities, and other major technical changes are challenging. Although the existing team has conceptualized and planned major changes of this type, companies often need help with implementation.

Many interim managers essentially function as boots in the field, overseeing the work that goes into fundamental change. Many organizations already have big-scale thinkers and meticulous planners, but need a doer.

With so many economic challenges facing companies in virtually every industry – and turnover still a lingering issue – there are sure to be holes in corporate management teams in the months and years to come. coming.

Some companies will be lucky and quickly find a permanent replacement for deceased executives who is considered an ideal candidate. But many others will opt for a more convenient, flexible and less risky way to ensure their business has the leadership it needs.

Like most things today, business acumen and expertise can be acquired on demand and as a service. And there are many times in the life of a business when acquiring them this way is the option that makes sense.

Olivia Wagner is co-founder of InterimExecs and co-author of Right Leader Right Time.


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