How to Avoid the Pitfalls When Appointing an Interim Manager

In the current economic climate the demand for interim managers is increasing as more companies are realising the benefits interim managers can have to their business.

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an interim manager is vital to ensure a successful appointment—one that can ultimately lead to cost reductions and streamlined business processes.

Many Australian businesses, both small and large, are now embracing specialist expertise for specific internal projects and restructuring initiatives.

If you are considering appointing an interim manager (or specialist contractor), consider these pros and cons:

Advantages of appointing an Interim Manager

  1. Cost savings: Interim managers are highly skilled and can often fill multiple roles, saving the costs of appointing for individual roles.
  2. Available at short notice: Skills gaps are able to be filled quickly, ensuring minimal disruption to business performance.
  3. Streamline processes: As an experienced fresh pair of eyes, interim managers are able to identify opportunities within the business to improve processes and efficiencies.
  4. Try before you buy: If you are unsure about the business need for a particular role, or the suitability of a candidate, recruiting into an interim role allows you to test your assumption.
  5. Effective outcome delivery: It’s often easier to get required results as interim managers aren’t drawn into organisational politics and bureaucracy.
  6. Experienced executives: Interim managers are able to ‘hit the ground running’ with minimal induction and little to no training costs.

Tips to avoid the pitfalls when appointing an Interim Manager

While appointing an interim manager may seem like an attractive solution, if it isn’t done correctly it can hinder rather than strengthen a business.

Here are some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls when filling interim roles:

  1. Define your strategic goal. What are you hoping to achieve as a business and from this appointment or project initiative? This will help you stay focused during the hiring process on selecting the right candidate to fill your needs.
  2. Establish clear and transparent reporting lines to ensure a seamless integration into the business from a cultural and performance perspective.
  3. Define clear goals, both short and long term, so you can measure the performance and success of the project.
  4. Seek expert assistance to source and select high calibre interim executives if you don’t have the resources or time to source the right people.

In our experience, more and more companies are appointing interim managers (or specialist contractors) to strengthen an existing executive team, lead a specific project, manage a crisis, address a short-term need for a specialist skill set, or transform their business.

Feel free to share your tips in the comments section on how to avoid the pitfalls when appointing an Interim Manager.

Richard Dunks is a director of Vantage Performance, a national award winning company specialising in business transformation. Richard specialises in delivering the people solutions to solve complex business challenges, including providing a variety of interim staffing solutions to ASX 200 companies, private equity firms and SMEs.

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