In today's fast-paced technology-driven world, organisations often have increasingly complex supply chains. When a company wishes to grow and scale their operations, it’s realistic to expect that there will be challenges.
Making the decision as to who should lead the business through such challenges, is a critical one. When an organisation has vacant positions in key strategic roles or requires assistance with an acquisition or merger, whether that’s a Senior Manager in an expanding territory, a Head of Function or Director, finding the right candidate with the skills to deal with an organisation's unique set of challenges is not always as easy as it sounds.
When key roles remain vacant for an extended period, it can begin to have an impact at different points along the overall supply chain which could ultimately be potentially damaging for your company if the situation isn’t addressed.
One option that can often be overlooked as a temporary solution until the right permanent candidate is appointed is to consider hiring an interim manager or director. A person with the right technical or functional expertise who specialises in interim roles can make all the difference between meeting and hitting targets; completing or losing contracts.
In this article, we take a look at five key reasons why recruiting an interim director could help your business this year. Before we dive in, let’s start with clarifying what we mean by an interim manager.
What Is an Interim Manager?
An interim manager is someone who steps into a senior position in an organisation for a limited time frame. Their contract can sometimes be open-ended if there is no contingency yet in place for a more permanent member of staff or to stabilise the ship whilst strategy is being developed, although it is typically between four and eighteen months.
People often ask the question - what’s the difference between an interim manager and a consultant? The simplest way to describe this is to say a consultant will usually provide an organisation with a plan of what to do to create a piece of change. Often the consultant then leaves the business to implement the plan. An interim manager in contract is brought in to ‘implement’ a plan.
Organisations use interim directors for several different reasons;
Merger and Acquisition
A vacancy exists in a key strategic position
As a result of multiple internal moves, a structural gap exists
A skill set is required that doesn’t exist in the business
Expertise within a specific technology or market
In summary, it’s mainly when the company in question is going through a period of change or finds itself with a critical gap in the management structure.
So, what are the benefits of using an interim manager?
1. Their Expertise
An interim manager will have gained invaluable experience in many companies in a similar position to the point where they are an expert/subject matter expert in their field. They will have developed in-depth market knowledge, strong communication, management, operational and strategic skills which, when combined, will be ideal and essential for leading a team through an uncertain period.
For example, you find yourself without your Procurement Manager, and the position is either left vacant as business priorities have taken over or someone less experienced steps in to assist.
In either of these scenarios, it is a distinct possibility that this could lead to delays in the procurement of raw materials for production to fulfil orders, negotiating key contracts for services at the right price or the less experienced manager in question sources a lower grade of raw material to save costs which result in challenges later in the supply chain for the production team.
What could be some of the implications of this?
Foremost it can impact the production schedule, which subsequently influences delivery times, with a worst-case scenario that the delivery schedule falls further and further behind, orders back up and clients get frustrated. At its worst, the contract could become at risk of not being renewed or be cancelled.
All of which can sound dramatic but, sadly, realistic.
2. They Are Impartial
An interim manager may have extensive knowledge or your sector or expertise in a specific functional area, but not your organisation – and this makes all the difference.
The interim will have no personal investment in the company and will be unaware of company politics. This gives them an unbiased view of your organisation and the situation they are coming into, which allows them to focus solely on the job in question, allowing them to objectively assimilate the situation and develop a plan
The objectivity of an interim director can give clarity to your organisation when it is needed the most.
3. For a Change of Direction and Troubleshooting
Aside from stepping in during your organisation’s time of need to help solve your most pressing or business-critical problem, an interim director may also be able to add additional value to your business, initiating a change of direction.
With the vast experience such individuals have, they can effectively troubleshoot problems that your organisation may be facing. They will have insight into potential solutions and the pros and cons, having experienced them in previous interim roles or permanent roles within their career
As they are not tied to the company, their independent perspective can influence senior leaders’ decisions and choices in a way that internal colleagues may not be able to.
Also, if your organisation is going through a restructure, an interim director will be able to effectively give feedback without being concerned about any backlash being directed towards a permanent employee.
Your interim director should be able to reduce the risk of the worst-case scenario; that your clients receive a sub-par level of service as a direct result of vacancies in your organisation which, in turn, causes customers to look for business elsewhere.
A new perspective is sometimes what is needed, particularly if your organisation has faced recent challenges. Which bring us on to…
4. To Quickly Help Your Organisation Through a Difficult Period
If your organisation is at a point where a senior position is vacant, this is probably due to unforeseen circumstances or situations out of your control
In any organisations supply chain, speed is vital as we know that there are implications when any one part of the supply chain is facing challenges.
For example: As a director, it might appear that your team of managers are coping without their Country /Senior Manager or Leader. Some teams do. But as time goes on, it is almost inevitable that the cracks will begin to show.
Rather than holding out for the ‘perfect’ director, an interim manager can step in and manage the team and any situations that they are facing. This allows you, as the hiring manager, to continue to recruit the right person for the role, knowing that your business is continuing to run smoothly.
5. For an Excellent Return on Investment
The consequences to your organisation's reputation and business when you struggle on without a fully staffed team can have long term and broader financial implications.
If the business requires a specialist skillset as part of implementing a project, an interim manager
is often a more cost-effective option compared to an internal employee as the additional elements of a remuneration package do not have to be covered.
Interim managers can provide short term access to top talent who have a strategic eye and bring the latest thinking to a company, combined with the ability to fast-track projects. They can bring speed to projects because they have no company history and can think and operate in a detached manner. Something that can be refreshing for employees that the interim manager works with.
What Stops Companies From Taking The Interim Route?
One of the reasons organisations often hold back on hiring an interim director is that they believe the fee of hiring at first for an interim, and then later for a permanent director, will not be economically viable. The opposite is true.
The cost to your company when failing to deliver on contracts has the potential, in the long run, to be far worse for your organisation than the relative cost of hiring an interim director.
About Martin Veasey Talent Solutions
At Martin Veasey, we have been working with blue-chip and SME businesses for over 35 years, both in the UK and around the world and offer a range of recruitment solutions.
We are an independent consultancy company with highly qualified and experienced executive recruitment professional including degree and Masters educated consultants, certified by professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the British Psychological Society and with recruitment expertise across a diverse range of industry sectors and functions. Martin Veasey Talent Solutions are also experts when it comes to recruiting and building new teams.
We have unique expertise in hiring for senior roles both in the UK and Internationally for Board & Senior, Supply Chain & Logistics, Purchasing & Procurement, Manufacturing & Engineering, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Sales, Human Resources, FMCG & Retail related opportunities.
If you are looking to work with a highly accomplished recruiting partner, you can call us on 01905 381320 or get in contact today.