Interim support has always been one of the key areas we focus on at Kind Consultancy, and across our time recruiting in the Governance, Risk, Compliance & Complaints space, it has become a more and more popular option. SME businesses used to see interims as people that larger companies hired, and the larger companies once saw interims as something they would only use in emergency situations. Now, I find that organisations of all sizes are open to the wide variety of ways that hiring an interim manager can be a positive move.
Right now, for example, there are situations where an interim can be a huge help in relation to the ongoing effects of the global Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. The economic fallout has seen many people furloughed and subsequently made redundant, across all sectors. This is a particular cause for concern in Governance, Risk, Compliance & Complaints within Financial Services because we know that there are regulatory concerns over the treatment of vulnerable customers – both those who have been made vulnerable by the effects of the pandemic and those already vulnerable who now need help navigating an even more difficult financial situation. Pop-up interim support with deep vulnerability expertise may well be required by some organisations to support increased volumes – particularly where organisations have permanent hiring recruitment freezes in place. Training up pre-existing staff to confidently handle these sensitive situations in a way which won’t generate further complaints is slower and more expensive than bringing in an interim team who already have an advanced understanding of the work that is required in this high-pressure situation.
We have also seen a need for organisations to bring in interim resource to support the increase of mortgage applications following the freeze on stamp duty. This sudden, sharp increase (which will most likely continue to see activity above normal levels until the end of the stamp duty holiday in March 2021) could leave businesses in urgent need of large numbers of AML, KYC and administrative staff. With interims, businesses can get those skills they need quickly and begin tackling the increase in days rather than weeks or months.
But what are some of the “non-emergency” situations where interim support could be beneficial?
One of the most obvious is when an organisation is facing a compliance transformation project to bring their processes in line with a change in regulation. With an interim, we can quickly parachute in someone who knows and understands the new rules, understands how they translate into business practice, and crucially who has experience of transforming organisations quickly. If an organisation puts the responsibility of a transformation project onto their regular permanent team, that team will then be splitting their time between the project and their regular duties, and the quality of work can suffer on both fronts. A dedicated interim will be focussed, rapidly solving the specific problems the business faces while full-time staff can continue to do what they do best.
Another common cause for seeking an interim is when an organisation knows that a senior member of management is preparing to leave. The search for an executive, head of or chief level manager takes significantly longer than the recruitment of a lower-level position, and will often see the ideal next person for your organisation having to go through an extremely lengthy notice period of their own before they can join. All of that is before we even think about the extensive vetting requirements of many Governance, Risk & Compliance leadership positions. Where organisations have previously temporarily shifted or shared the responsibilities of these positions in between people, I think there’s a very strong awareness in the industry now that it’s cost-effective, better for business continuity, and good for staff to bring in an interim to steer the team for what can be a substantial period of time – and under SM&CR, some of these areas that could previously be split up now require expert oversight from an individual who is specifically responsible for them.
I appreciate there are still people in Financial Services who see this as an expensive move, but the reality is that it is very good value for money. Where permanent staff come with a wide variety of additional costs to an employer on top of the basic salary (National Insurance, sick days, pensions, car allowances) which can add up fast. Data from the Institute of Interim Management suggests that an interim manager can cost up to 67% less than a permanent member of staff working for the same period of time.
Kind Consultancy has been working on interim projects ever since our inception, but in recent years I believe we have really honed and improved our approach. Now with Kind Agile Solutions, we are consistently able to deliver highly skilled professionals with specialist experience to our clients much faster than any of our competitors. Kind Agile Solutions consists of a bench of pre-screened Governance, Risk, Compliance & Complaints contractors. We only take on the very best, and we ensure that they always have up to date documentation. Between this and sharing schedules so we always know when they can and cannot take on a new project, we’re able to have some of the very best interim specialists in Financial Services on-site and at work for our clients within very short timeframes – and a shorter process is a more cost-efficient process for everyone involved.
Maybe you have a looming transformation project. Maybe you know that your Chief Risk Officer is preparing to retire. Maybe your company is in a unique position and you need expert guidance from someone who has been there before. Whatever the reason, I’d encourage anyone who thinks an interim manager might work for their company to contact Kind Consultancy for an honest and confidential discussion of how we can help. Get in touch on 01216432100 or e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org
[For some specific examples of how Kind Consultancy has helped our clients with interim resource, read our recent series of Case Studies.]