Can Companies REALLY plan for their interim needs?

In one of my recent blogs I looked at how interims can plan their career by understanding their overall career goals and why they are doing interim work.

This got me thinking about whether companies can plan ahead for interims and how beneficial this can be when it’s done well. Generally, interims are taken on in a reactive way as a response to a bottleneck. However, with some advance thinking, hiring managers can take control of their interim recruitment needs, maximising their hiring spend and getting access to the best interims in the market.

Forward planning involves considering a few things:

1. Forecasting bottlenecks: Spending time at the start of the year anticipating when your team will be busiest and facing potential bottlenecks. These bottlenecks will give you an idea of when your team could be under resourced and as a result, when interims may be needed.

2. Understanding staff ambitions: Every good team will have people who are ambitious and looking to grow their careers. This can have a knock-on effect on the wider team as individuals look for secondments, promotions or opportunities outside your business. Recognising your high flyers and giving them opportunities could lead to you needing to build in an interim later in the year to cover the shortfall.

3. Recognising employment lifecycles: As well as career progression, there will be instances where people will retire, take extended leave or go on maternity leave. These should be the easiest wins for recognising when interims will be needed. Getting those gaps solved as much in advance as possible, as soon as you’ve been made aware of the change, gives you the best chance of reaching the top interims in the market.

4. Working in partnership: Remember to view recruiters as much more than just a sourcing channel. Strong, insightful interim recruiters act as a consultative partner. They will be able to tell you what the market for certain disciplines will look like at any given time helping you to assess what you need.

There are many benefits to forecasting your interim needs:

1. Cost savings: Usually, the more urgent the hire, the more expensive it will be. Understanding your interim needs as much in advance as you can means you can make the most of your budget. It puts you in a better negotiating position so you can get more ‘bang for your buck’. Also, working out how long you need the interim for helps prevent paying for extra, unnecessary time.

2. Reaching top talent: The best talent in the interim market is usually snapped up pretty quickly and unless you time it correctly, you will miss out on the best. Imagine a scenario where you know a month or two (or more!) in advance that you need an interim. You can find out who is going to be available and secure them using a golden handcuffs deal. Not only are you providing the interim with a secure contract, but you are also guaranteeing that you have the best person for the role.

3. Integrating interims: Thinking ahead can make a huge difference to how a person is integrated into your business. Sometimes bringing in an interim on very short notice can lead to disruption and there will be very little time for onboarding. Preparing your team in advance for an interim and providing effective onboarding, means they’ll be ready to go from day one. This is especially true if an interim is coming onboard to run a particular project. If they are aware well in advance, then they can start working out how they will run the project and provide the best possible outcome.

4. Noticing knowledge gaps: Within a team’s lifecycle, there will always be those points in time where knowledge gaps become visible. Anticipating these points helps stop them from being an issue as you will know when these gaps need to be filled. Having the right interim at the right time lets the team continue to perform at the level expected of them.

All in all, it is possible to plan ahead for interims. By putting in some time and thought at the beginning, it’s possible to save money and maximise the contribution an interim will make to your business.