Interim Managers Can Help to Address Challenges Associated with Management Turnover

It’s a truism in business that on the flipside of every “challenge” lies an “opportunity.” While challenges have no problem presenting themselves, some opportunities are harder to see and embrace than others. Not surprisingly, most revolve around people.

Some people-related challenges masquerading as opportunities can be planned for and tackled with creative solutions. For example, manufacturers in many job markets today are caught between an entry-level labor shortage and a wave of baby boomer retirements. But as more people live longer they’re finding that they need to support their standard of living for longer periods of time. As a result, expectations around retirement are changing and companies are re-structuring management positions to allow for more flexibility and part-time work.

Other staffing challenges are harder to plan for and may even be self-inflicted. For example, to reduce operating costs a company that I recently heard from offered a voluntary separation package that was more popular than anticipated. The incentive plan opened up some unanticipated vacancies in key supervisory positions and created a big headache for the unit’s leaders. As in this case, we’ve fielded many calls over the years from clients looking for people who could fill an immediate opening.

We’ve learned quite a lot by placing these interim managers, many of whom come from the highly experienced but not-yet-ready-to-completely-retire ranks mentioned above:

Here are some of the benefits of immediately filling an opening with an interim manager:

  1. Proven Expertise

    First and foremost, temporary managers relieve the extra responsibilities that fall on other staff members when another manager leaves, which helps maintain current performance levels and forward progress. Smart organizations will also leverage the interim’s expertise to further streamline and improve production and business processes.
  2. Breathing Room

    When any good manager unexpectedly moves on it always takes longer than expected for the HR department to find and screen viable candidates. Having a temporary manager in place reduces some of the immediate urgency, extending the search timeline, and thereby increasing the likelihood that you’ll find and hire the best candidate.
  3. Hiring Support

    Interim managers offer a fresh perspective on the future needs of the position, as well as a personal network of potential job candidates. Incorporating their insights into the interviewing, hiring and on-boarding processes can dramatically improve the future hire’s probability of success.
  4. Run Interference

    Temporary managers can evaluate current conditions and make some of the tough operational decisions, like workforce restructuring and facility closures. This gives the future permanent manager the opportunity to start off on a much more positive note.


Those are just some of the benefits that interim managers can bring to a temporary position.

In closing I’d like to emphasize the many ways that interim managers can offer support during the search and interviewing process, which is fraught with risks and ineffective practices. I’ll explore some of the best practices in screening and evaluating management job candidates in a future blog post.

Please note: Having provided such support to our clients for years, TBM Consulting Group has formally launched an interim leadership service (TBM Leadership Solutions, LLC, an affiliate of TBM Consulting Group, Inc.) to quickly fill critical operational and supply chain positions. See this overview for more information on how we can help your business make more successful leadership transitions.