Organisations going through change rely on experienced interim managers
Covid-19 has had an impact on the volume of interim management assignments in 2020, particularly in the aviation, travel, events and retail sector. Some assignments were reduced in time or paused. However, the 2021 Robert Walters Salary Survey reveals that since the summer, there has been an increase in the number of interim management assignments to help restructure or lead transformation and critical change management projects.
Audrey Bostvironois, Manager of the Robert Walters interim management division, shares her expectations about the labour market for interim managers in 2021.
Focus on business-critical projects in 2020
Covid-19 has had an impact on interim management assignments within certain sectors such as aviation, travel, events and retail. Some assignments were reduced in time or paused. Non-business critical projects like an ERP or system implementation project for example were put on hold, because the majority of organisations wanted to focus first on cost control and defining their strategy for the future. Companies that were less affected by the crisis felt some uncertainty and preferred to wait to see the larger impact of this crisis, before continuing their recruitment activities.
However, interim managers were still recruited to replace or fill important strategic management positions, especially within general management, finance and HR. Audrey: “Since the summer, we have seen an increase in the number of assignments to help restructure or lead transformation projects and other critical change management projects.”
Human resources and finance
In 2021, we believe that the demand for highly qualified interim managers in key strategic positions in HR and finance will remain high. The focus will still be on cost and process optimisation and defining regulations to roll out the new way of working. “Organisations undergoing a restructuring phase will need to bring in the specific skills & operational experience and the hands-on mentality of interim managers, to help them take strategic decisions and implement these, in order to secure the future.”
Required skills in the new world of working
Interim managers have strong leadership skills and these are really important in today’s market. The ability to communicate well at all levels, to reassure people in uncertain times and to keep employees motivated even when working remotely, are key in order to help the organisation succeed. “Being flexible, agile, resilient and having a helicopter view are the strengths organisations need in this new world of working we’re entering.”
Organisations going through change in these difficult times, should see the benefit of bringing an interim manager on board. “Their experience and know-how from similar assignments and the ability to see things from a different point of view, is a big advantage.”
Even in a short period of time and with the involvement of the organisation’s employees, interim managers will help the business achieve their goals and plans for the future.
Prepared for the future
Businesses will continue to focus on cost reduction but in order to be successful and prepared for the future, certain investments will need to be made. Certain projects have been put on hold in recent months, but need to be relaunched to guarantee business continuity. “Bringing an interim manager into the organisation may look strange when focusing on keeping costs low, but the added value of having an expert with the right skills and experience on board, is definitely worth the investment, especially for organisations going through change.”
Find out more?
Request access to our 2021 Salary Survey to benchmark interim management fees and to find out more about trends on the Belgium job market.