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Research Undertaken into ‘Interim Management’

The most important factors in choosing an ‘Interim Management’ provider were said to be such aspects as:- industry knowledge, track record efficiency, cost and lastly being recommended. Respondents were also asked :- ‘How they viewed Interim Management as a resourcing option, now and as a resource in the future?’ On a scale of 1-5 (one being most important ) users rated it’s current importance at 2.6 and interestingly it’s importance in the future increases to 2.1 thus supporting the reported growth rate of the sector.

Apparently the growth rate usage of ‘Interim Managers’ is around 30% per annum as indicated by research from both the ‘Executive Grapevine’ – U.K.’s leading provider of information on human resources consultants and Aties – the ‘Interim Management’ industry’s professional body
and surveys carried out to examine how the rate of ‘Interim Managers’ is viewed within the industry and to look at ways ‘Interim Managers’ have assisted organisations, together with benefits delivered.

Out of responses analysed a total of 75% were from MD’s, CEO’s and H.R Directors from the normal decision makers in the hiring of ‘Interm Managers’ the balance being other directors and HR Managers. A broad mix of industry and company size participated – service and manufacturing industries and the public sector who contributed 10%. One quarter of respondents came from companies with less than 250 employees 47% had between 251 and 1,500, with 28% having more than 2,500.

It is interesting to observe that 95% of the respondents agreed with the definition of ‘Interim Management’ as the use of Senior Executives on contract to manage a business function or project, since there has been a tendency for some non-management temporary workers to be re-branded by their supplier workers as ‘Interim Managers’ a trend which only confuses the seniority of real ‘Interim Managers’ and the potential value that they are able to bring to enterprises. 70% found ‘Interim Managers’ could be used instead of short term executives, contractors or temporary workers, whilst the remainder ( 30% ) found them an alternative to Project Managers or Management Consultants.

The main functions in which ‘Interim Managers’ were utilised were in General Management, HR and IT followed by Operations, Production and Finance. The figures were not significantly different from those who would consider using ‘Interim Managers’ in the future, except that sales and marketing and logistics were slightly ahead ( of operations, production and HR. )

Those who have experienced the service were to :- fill an unplanned gap as a project manager, followed by ‘change management’ to fill a planned gap and in crisis management. Among those without experience using ‘Interim Management’ resource, project management was still at the top of the list possible future uses, but filling gaps ( planned or unplanned ) did not feature in the top five, being replaced by testing a new opportunity (16%) change management (14%) and crisis management (13%)

Satisfaction among users of ‘Interim Managers’ were found to be very high, with two thirds rating their experiences 1 or 2 ( on a scale of 1-5 ) and a further 27% rating 3. Only a small 4% appeared to have registered any dissatisfaction, with no respondent giving the least rating of ‘5.’

By and large, organisations which had utilised an ‘Interim Manager’ did experience the most important benefits they had expected – among the top five ( both expected and experienced from a prompted list of 13 features) were :- deliver results, knowledge, experience, commitment and immediacy. Typically those attributes that clients would naturally expect ‘Interim Managers’ to bring to a project.

It is worth considering too, that the cost and value is not as simple as looking at the rate per day and expenses when submitting ‘Interim Executives ‘. Research suggests that the costs of ‘Interims’ are recovered at least threefold on average, making them a very cost efficient option; but perhaps the most important consideration is opportunity cost.

About the Author: J Hadley writes on behalf of Executive Interims - Supply Chain Practice. See:

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