5 Tips for the Successful Onboarding of Interim Managers

An interim manager has the potential to greatly benefit your business. But first, you need to get them onboarded and intergrated properly. Here’s how to do it.

You’ve found the perfect interim manager for your task. They have the right skills, extensive experience and are even a good cultural fit. But what next? How do you ensure you utilise this person to best of your business’s advantage? The answer is good preparation and communication, ensuring all parties have the same end goal.

1. Provide a thorough brief

It is absolutely crucial to fully brief the candidate and ensure they understand exactly what is required of them on the assignment. Be clear from the outset the purpose of the role and why it exists. Communicate timescales, objectives and any changes that arise along the way.

2. Discuss expenses

Expenses policies vary from company to company, and contract to contract. Therefore it is important to lay down the guidelines well before the first expenses claim is made. Clarify what you are happy for them to expense, and set out any budget constraints. It is a good idea to agree these guidelines in writing, so the interim can refer back to them if needed.

3. Explain company structure

An interim manager may only work for a few months, but they need an in-depth understanding of the business to make the assignment a success. Make sure they know key processes, reporting lines and the organisational structure. Good interims are adept at picking up on these things, but providing the knowledge early on will ensure they begin as quickly and effectively as possible.

4. Encourage team rapport

Many interims enjoy the fact they can simply do the job required of them, without getting involved in day-to-day politics. However, it is important that you enable and encourage them to integrate with peers as appropriate. This helps interims to understand the company culture, and build rapport with internal stakeholders to achieve results. This is especially true for senior decision makers and should be, if possible, enabled by a “board sponsor”.

5. Enlist a board sponsor

It is very important to obtain buy-in from senior staff on the assignment. If senior staff aren’t on-board, any changes the interim puts in place are likely to fall away after they depart. For this reason, many companies find assigning a board sponsor useful. Having someone on the board who regularly reports the interim’s activity is a good way to retain faith among senior leadership. They are also more likely to embrace the changes that come from the assignment long-term.