Deployed effectively, interim managers have the potential to add significant value to an organisation. They may command a high daily rate – which is only natural given the specialist skills they bring – but these senior level individuals can deliver a strong return on investment. This is why many organisations continue to use them, on both short and long term placements.

The trick is knowing when to bring in a consultant. Sometimes jobs can be undertaken by existing members of staff, but at other times, it makes sense to hire one of these freelance specialists. Here are some of the scenarios in which an interim manager can add value to your organisation:

1. To plug a skills gap

If you need someone with specific expertise, knowledge and experience, and don’t have somebody suitable in-house, it may make sense to bring in an interim manager. It may take some time and significant resources to train up employees to the requisite level, meaning it is more cost-effective to recruit somebody externally. As part of their role, the interim manager can transfer skills and knowledge to permanent members of staff, ensuring they are better equipped to perform to a high level in the future.

2. To bridge an appointment

If somebody leaves unexpectedly – perhaps through illness, death or a surprise resignation – you may need a short-term staffing solution. If your organisation has lost a senior member of staff, such as a team leader or director, an interim management appointment can help keep things ticking over. This takes the pressure off in terms of recruiting a replacement. You are able to make a full-time hire in your own time, and up until that point, employ the consultant to cover the vacancy.

3. To assist with organisational change

Interim managers are often brought in to undertake difficult work, such as restructuring teams and making employees redundant. Directors are reluctant to take on these sorts of tasks personally, knowing the effect it will have on staff morale and their own reputation. By stepping in and taking charge, consultants become the focal point for staff members’ frustrations.

4. To deploy new systems

Sometimes your organisation needs access to specialist skills and expertise for a short period of time, particularly when implementing new systems. The deployment process can be much more seamless if there is an expert to hand – someone capable of overseeing the change and carrying out any necessary troubleshooting. Once the new system is in place and employees know how to use it effectively, the consultant’s job is done.

5. To offer a new perspective

It’s very easy for directors to get stuck in their ways and be blinded to new developments, techniques and ways of working. Occasionally, it makes sense to bring in somebody external to offer a fresh outlook. Interim manager are likely to have worked for a number of different organisations across various industries, and gained vast experience in the process. Knowing how business works and how different organisations operate, it’s possible they may be able to recommend positive changes.

6. To cover absence

If a key member of staff is going to be off work for a set length of time – perhaps because they have gone on maternity leave, or broken a bone – you don’t want to hire a permanent replacement. This will cost too much money and leave you over-resourced in future interim manager can take up the role on a short term basis, up until the point your permanent employee is ready to return.