An Interim Manager will provide specialist resources for a limited period:
- to fill a gap in a senior position – for example where someone has left at short notice, or is on long term sickness, and you need to fill the gap until they return or a permanent replacement can be recruited;
- to support a specific project, or to cover a transitional period until the need ends or the situation warrants a permanent appointment.
The Interim Manager steps into the role at short notice (typically less than one week from first contact) and stays as long as needed – usually three to six months. The organisation has no long-term commitment to the Interim Manager and, subject to an agreed notice period, can terminate his or her involvement at any time, and at no cost. This gives a very clear controllable cost – no sick pay, no pension, no benefits, no redundancy pay. These factors also make it a very cost effective approach.
As outsiders, Interim Managers have no pre-existing loyalties in the organisation and no involvement in, or interest in, internal politics. They are impartial. As their role is strictly time limited, they do not appear as a threat to other members of the management team, and so are usually more readily accepted than a temporarily promoted insider might be.
They also bring the insight and freshness of view of an outsider. They are used to fitting in very quickly, and so have excellent interpersonal skills.
They offer complete focus on the assignment, rather than it being an extra responsibility loaded onto an existing executive’s workload.
If you have suddenly lost your Chief Executive or Finance Director, which of the following options is likely to be best for the business?
- Rush to recruit a permanent replacement as quickly as possible. The urgency restricts where adverts may be placed, and restricts the choice of agency, leading to a sub-optimal field of applicants. There is a temptation to favour applicants who are available quickly, rather than choosing the best candidate irrespective of lead time. Even with rushed recruitment there is still a gap of two months or more during which the level of service or performance declines, financial risks increase, other staff are overworked and under increased stress, and the uncertainty creates demotivation.
- An experienced person steps into the role next week. They work either full time or part time depending upon the need. The person has the flexibility to continue until you have found the ideal successor, and he or she comes free of pre-existing commitments, whether this is two months or six months.