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The Perfect Balance of Workforce to Workflow

The Perfect Balance of Workforce to Workflow





By Doug Spahn, Director, Executive Synergy Pte Ltd

To compete in a global business environment and overcome these challenges, progressive organisations throughout Asia are adopting better ways to meet their value-chain workload demands by accessing exceptional executive talent only when they need them. The perfect balance of a flexible workforce meeting a flexible workflow.

What is Interim Management?

Interim Management is defined as the provision of effective business results by a highlyskilled professional for a clearly defined time span. The hallmark of an interim manager, as opposed to any other form of contract resources are:

• Impact – Interim managers are skilled at making an impact quickly, assessing the work and company culture with little or no briefing and minimal time to settle in.

• Independent – They address issues from a ‘neutral’ position, acting as a trusted advisor who tells it as it is, particularly useful when difficult decisions are required.

• Credible – Often operating at the most senior level, interim managers have the gravitas and credibility. They are suitably well-qualified to advise and deliver effective solutions.

• Transformational – Most interim projects relate to change, transition, business improvement, crisis management or a turnaround. Interim managers will add immediate value and energise the workplace.

Why would I need an Interim Manager?

Often interim mangement assignments focus on ‘change’ as their core element. With highly specialised and flexible skills, interim managers bring a wealth of experience across many industry sectors in typically some of the most challenging work environments to fit seamlessly into the capability of your internal management teams. This is what differentiates them from standard contractors or flexible workers.

Typical interim assignments include:

• Business transformations or supply chain optimisations

• Major project implementations or system integrations

• Change programme post-merger or acquisition

• Short-term leadership gap filler

• A management or business crisis

• Project management and/or business turnaround


How do I engage an Interim Manager?

Interim managers work within an ‘assignment lifecycle’ framework, whereby they enter, engage and exit their client assignments, a unique combination of consulting methodology and project management process. However, it is the combination of insightful analysis and a result-driven implementation focus that differentiates an interim manager. The assignment lifecycle generally comprises five reasonably defined stages:


The client and interim manager explore the scope of the requirement with an assessment of the interim manager’s capability. Agreement on the deliverables is also finalised.


After a consultation with relevant stakeholders, a more detailed understanding of the situation or problem is formed and possible solutions determined. These issues may differ from those originally discussed.


Using their expertise and experience, the interim manager develops and presents a more detailed solution and effective project implementation plan.


The interim manager takes responsibility for managing the project, whether that is managing teams, dealing with the crises or transformations or filling a management gap.


As the assignment ends the interim manager will ensure all objectives have been met and evaluated and the client is satisfied with the results. This stage may also involve any knowledge or skills transfer and sharing of lessons learnt in the process.

What is the value of an Interim Manager?

The interim manager’s value is to provide a cost-effective solution that manages client risk and delivers a specific outcome on time and on budget, often including both strategy and implementation components.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Interim managers add value by using their skills and expertise to deliver the agreed outcomes, providing a meaningful ROI.

Quick & Nimble

Interim managers can be in place within days as opposed to weeks or months. Their experience, expertise and previous performance ensures they work quickly and effectively.

Expert Skills

Often sensibly ‘over-qualified’ for the role they take on, interim managers bring specialised skills and knowledge to a skills gap or problem, maximising impact.


Interim managers provide a fresh perspective and focus on what is best for your business, not affected by operating culture and internal politics.


Not just ‘advisory’, interim managers take responsibility to manage the business or project and deliver results, giving you a peace of mind.


Often working with the CEO and leadership team, interim managers have the authority and mandate to drive the change or transition.


Interim managers maintain exemplary standards and hold a stake in the success of the assignment. Their reputation relies on a successful track record.

How do I find an Interim Manager?

Sourcing an experienced interim manager can be a perplexing time for many human resource departments or line managers. Contacting an ex-employee, utilising networks and referrals, searching online and connecting with previously used interim managers are common mechanisms.

Engaging a professional interim manager service provider is by far the most effective. They will have quick access to a variety of quality resources and manage the whole assessment process; take care of all necessary employment licences, statutory government charges, legislative requirements and employment contracts. They will manage your employment risk to ensure the experience is easy and as hassle-free as possible.

Do Interim Managers provide value for money?

Unlike the larger management consultancy firms, interim managers are implementers as well as strategists, analysts and planners. They are loyal to your business objectives and are flexible to do what you need, not constricted by the organisational objectives of the consulting firms. They are a more cost-effective solution focused on your profitability and are on your team to deliver on your strategy.

The actual ROI of employing an interim manager varies, based on the specific situation, however most estimates put it at an average of over 200 per cent. The daily rate cost of an interim manager to a client is typically about 60 per cent cheaper then that of engaging a larger consulting firm.

As organisations battle headcount restrictions and facing the need to reduce costs whilst improving productivity, interim managers provide an extremely viable alternative.