A big challenge facing organistions today is how to change or transform the organisation whilst keeping costs down and business coming in.
With the uncertainty and volatility markets are experiencing, taking on additional permanent staff is simply not an option for many.
There is also a move away from the big expensive strategy houses resulting in them moving down the value chain into the crowded space of strategy implementation. An area given their consultant profile, it could be argued, they are not best placed to deliver.
CEO’s and HR Directors are always faced with a dilemma of how do I keep costs in check and do more with less. Thus forcing unsustainable pressure down the organization by asking staff to take on additional project responsibilities as well as the day job. Clearly most organisations are now so lean they simply do not have the internal capacity or capability to cope.
The answer many of our clients are coming to is the use of experienced external coaches, OD specialists and senior Interim roles. Each can play a major part in the growth and development of an organization and the capability of the workforce.
If you are about to embark on a significant change journey or in the middle of a transformation, the following 6 reasons why may help your thinking.
1) Change Orientation
The hiring of an interim or specialist coach or consultant will provide crucial momentum. Whereas your HR function should be great at business as usual, an interim, consultant or coach is naturally more pre disposed to change, managing ambiguity and risk. Their influence and guidance can help your leaders and whole workforce adjust to the change that is required. This kind of support and assurance is a huge advantage.
One of the key skills of an Interim, OD consultant or coach is the ability to provide an objective viewpoint to the current situation. Reviewing current structures, organisational design and specific staff challenges from an independent perspective can really make a difference when trying to move a business forward. Being used to change and typically having been involved in many similar situations they can also bring other experience that reassures and inspires confidence. They are also less impacted by the usual politics that can influence decision making and more likely to question behaviours, attitudes and ways of working that limit performance.
A further element of hiring an OD consultant or Interim is that they are (or should be) overskilled for the role. This is not something for existing staff to feel threatened about. A seasoned consultant will have the senior experience and skillset necessary to achieve what is required. As a result of this, they are often “stepping down” into their comfort zone and able to operate from a position of confidence and authority.
Another advantage of hiring an external specialist is their ability to act as a coach and mentor to the senior management team. Using their insight and experience, they can help leaders through specific organisational challenges, but more importantly help them to drive the change and engage more fully. Our experience is that all too often change is imposed and too little is done to help the top management levels feel emotional connected, intellectually convinced or motivated to support the change. A coach can often make the difference between success or failure.
A significant difference between interims and your typical strategy consultant is delivery. This distinction is absolutely crucial. The management consultancy will advise you around high level issues but your embedded coach or interims will advise and implement the detail. They will work with you to deliver the change – they are the doers.
By their very nature, the interim is there to deliver for their client, not themselves. With an established career already behind them, the interim is not career ladder orientated. They are there to get the job done. They should therefore take up much less management time.
There are many more good reasons to consider hiring an interim specialist/ HR / OD consultant or Performance Coach and include:
Commercial – typically broad commercial experience and understanding of organisations and the impact of decisions. Remember they run their own businesses and have that entrepreneurial mindset
Speed of hiring and firing – Interims need to be responsive to survive. They take less time to get on board, up to speed and delivering. As importantly they are just as easy to switch off at the end of the contract or replaced if not meeting requirement.
Leaving a legacy - The mark of a good project is capability transfer. Leaving the organisation with a more knowledgeable, experienced, and capable workforce as a result of the intervention.
Maybe it is time to consider your hiring strategy as part of business growth. From talent acquisition and management to learning & development and training, interim or fixed term assignments are helping to drive organizational success.