In the past 10 or 15 years, Interim Management has emerged to become an industry in its own right, one that provides a wide range of services to businesses.
This article provides a brief overview of what Interim Management is, the benefits it can offer, and suggestions on when it would be appropriate to use it.
What is Interim Management?
Interim Management is a service that enables you to:
- hire a manager
- with a particular type of expertise
- to work within your organisation
- for a limited amount of time.
Interim Management is not the same as consultancy. Consultants can provide particular expertise for a limited time, but they remain outside your organisation rather than within it. Usually, their business objectives are primarily those of the consultancy for whom they work. In some cases this might be to your detriment because fulfilling the financial aims of the consultancy organisation might involving maximising your expenditure.
Neither is Interim Management the same as recruiting a manager. If you recruit someone to your payroll they become a permanent member of staff.
The Interim Management service is usually provided by an individual to an organisation, and often arranged by an intermediary or agent.
When should Interim Management be used?
Interim Management is most relevant when you have a short-term need for a particular type of expertise. Examples might include:
- a period of change or transition
- opening up a new market
- acquiring a new subsidiary company
- managing a one-off project
- filling a gap between a manager's departure and recruiting a replacement
Interim Management is not really suitable for assessing potential recruits or for filling a permanent role on a long term basis.
Why use Interim Management rather than consultants?
Interim Management has a number of important benefits, when compared with consultancy:
- Higher expertise at lower cost
Interim Managers are usually very high calibre individuals, often having significantly more expertise and experience than you would expect of a permanent manager in that position. To get access to this expertise through other means would either be difficult or expensive: the long term prospects might be unattractive to them as permanent candidates; or the cost of equivalent consultants would be very high.
- Closer relationship with you and better integration into the organisation
The temporary manager becomes a full-time member of your organisation, a part of the organogram. The manager reports to you, staff report to the manager, and the manager can fulfil all the normal duties that you would expect (such as conducting appraisals, project planning and control, producing regular reports, etc.).
- Better follow-through
They don't just produce reports and advise on the course of action to be taken: they 'do it', implementing whatever changes are needed.
- More ownership
Because the manager is temporarily part of the company, responsible for implementing changes and will face the consequences of that implementation, there is usually a much greater degree of ownership of the project.
Interim Management can be a cost effective service that helps you through a period where you need a particular expertise for a limited amount of time. It has similar benefits to consultancy, but with a few more thrown in.
Selection of interim managers usually follows a similar process to recruitment: you brief the agency on your requirements; they present a shortlist; you conduct interviews; and then you appoint. However, unlike recruitment, this process can be very quick, often just a matter of days.