The Institute of Interim Management describes six key functions of interim managers. Here we explore them in more detail:
1. Change management – When it comes to change management, interim managers have the ability to remain impartial when an organisation is going through a change to policy or process so often prove to be the best project managers for these situations. Their objectivity means they can think ‘outside of the box’ and see a longer term strategy for the business which those closer to the issue may not have considered.
2. Turnaround – In times of business renewal interim managers have the expertise to come in, review a situation and implement the changes required for turnaround. An interim will stay at an organisation for as long as is required for the turnaround process making them the best choice for a situation which may require flexibility and adaptability. Their functions in this type of role will be to complete analysis and create a plan to restructure where necessary. Interims will often stay on assignment to implement the plan and make amendments having reviewed the progress made by the organisation.
3. Specialist skill requirement – An interim manager who has experience working in a specific industry or job role may have the exact skills that an organisation requires, often for short periods of time. The short term nature of contracts means that interims can gain a great deal of specialist experience from a number of assignments.
4. Gap filler – Interim managers can fill gaps in management caused by departures or long term absences. Organisations may want to take their time employing permanent staff at such a senior level and an interim manager can be the best stop-gap. Interims are used to slotting seamlessly into organisations, even at a very senior level, and do not require the usual time to settle in that permanent staff may do. This means they can hit the ground running and produce almost instant results.
5. Additional resource – In time-sensitive situations the most efficient solution may be to hire an interim manager for short term additional support. Interim contracts can be as short as only a few weeks which gives organisations a great deal of flexibility; being able to dictate the length of a contract, or extend it whenever necessary. Interims are also looking for the same kind of flexibility in their contracts – they do not want a permanent role at the end of an assignment – so the temporary nature works well for both parties involved.
6. Consultancy – interim managers make excellent management consultants. They have the experience to review a situation and suggest the best course of action for an organisation. Often interim managers are then kept on to implement their suggested processes.