There is a common misconception that interim HR managers are used simply to fill in resourcing gaps, between one manager leaving and the next arriving. In fact, this is the case only in a minority of interim HR assignments.
An interim HR manager will often be brought in because they have a different skill set; one that is needed to manage a specific challenge. Indeed, it's routinely the case that the interim manager may be brought in to an HR function that has a HR Generalist in place. While providing HR services, the interim will work alongside them to supply extra capability or management resource.
There are numerous benefits to using HR interim services. Many organisations bring in an interim manager because they are at the beginning of a period of significant strategic realignment, with consequent changes in people planning and resource requirements.
Bringing in an interim manager allows an organisation to mitigate any risk in not being able to deliver a particular task or objective. Not only does it help tasks that may not have been completed to hit deadlines, but often the cost of bringing in an interim HR manager outweighs the cost of failure to complete that task.
For example; during an employee relations case that has gone to tribunal, the cost of bringing in an interim HR manager who has expertise around the particular issue, could be significantly less than the financial implications for losing the case as well as the negative impact it could have on the organisation’s image.
There may be gaps in the skillsets of existing managers, which stops them being able to effectively deliver a particular task. Using interim HR managers gives you the chance to bring in someone to work on a task who has experience of doing so before. This, in turn, can then allow them to help upskill current employees, so that after the interim manager’s time is over, they may be able to affectively perform these tasks themselves.
For example; if your organisation is moving from one operating system to another, your HR managers may not have experience in making these changes. However, an interim HR manager can be bought in that has worked through changes in operating systems on numerous occasions, allowing them to effectively lead a project.
Most companies rely on generalist staff who are stretched across the whole HR function. It is rarely possible for them to be experts in all areas of compensation, reward, O&D, change, Talent Management, Talent development, Talent Acquisition, E/R and HRIS. Interim help is a great way to boost support in any one of these specialist areas.
Factors like Brexit and other economic uncertainties are putting organisations under extreme headcount pressure, which can mean that an interim solution is ideal for all parties. This can allow an organisation to weather the storm during volatile times, with the staff they need, rather than employee new people and increase overheads. This allows for a stop-gap, until an organisation knows exactly what it wants or needs.
When there are large changes in organisations, the timelines are often short, with particularly important deadlines that need to be met, or legal penalties could be incurred, jeopardising the future success of the whole organisation Bringing in interim HR managers or consultants can allow organisations to meet these deadlines. This can allow the right people to be concentrating on the right tasks. They also have the ability to hit the ground running, saving time and the potential need to train or learn new skills.
Existing managers may themselves be being moved, promoted or reassigned. They can find themselves with divided loyalties, fighting for their own staff and thus questioning some of the plans that they are being asked to implement. The human resource management function may find itself under attack by those who feel that they are being treated unfairly.
An outsider can bring objectivity and detachment to what can be a negative or heated atmosphere. They are able to consider issues without becoming embroiled in personalities or organisational politics. This can prove to be of enormous value.
This is a question of understanding the full range of services an interim manager, or potentially an HR consultancy, can supply. Examples of situations that should prompt thoughts of using an interim include:
HR Interim management can be vital for organisations of any size, with each potentially needing it for different reasons. Organisations of both sizes may have need for interim support. A small organisation may not have any HR capabilities to begin with, for instance, and a big organisation may not have the resource or skillsets required for a specific project.
Interim human resource managers provide businesses with the expertise and skills they need when they have specific HR challenges and projects. They're very much involved in organisational change and in building capability within organisations.