Given the upheaval caused by the Coronavirus pandemic there has been and continues to be a huge shift in working culture to accommodate working from home. This has proved to be a cost-effective means of coping with the virus outbreak and has both protected employees’ personal health and safety as well as transformed technology systems and improved the agility of many companies.
That being said, there has been a rise in onboarding new employees remotely, with the intention that they remain remote workers and support either the remote team, or the team in the office. This requires a completely different set of management techniques to integrate that new staff member into existing teams and keep them on track to hit KPIs. The same can be said for interim managers and contingent staff!
Interim managers are a cost-effective means of filling skill gaps quickly as using them bypasses many of the operational expenses of permanent employees. Their experience and objective point of view can help you make sound business decisions – all major components that need to be done right to ensure stability for years to come.
However, whilst interim managers can operate with a high level of autonomy, there will need to be some level of management in order to help facilitate their work with any resource requirements and authorisations to monitor their output for sign off and approval.
What are the challenges of managing remote workers?
Having remote-working employees and contingent staff working flexibly can pose a few issues for senior management generally, these include:
- Difficulty monitoring productivity
When an entire workforce is working remotely, senior management can find it difficult to ascertain where projects are up to, if objectives are being met and if budgets are being managed. Many of these would be indicated in face-to-face conversations and organic catchups that happen in an office setting.
Although there would be a system in place of expected deadlines for updates and reports on progress, without the smaller, casual updates sometimes a lot of time can pass where oversights or issues go unchecked leading to issues or adjustments to the timeframe further down the line.
When trying to ensure your interim manager is still able to be productive remotely, it’s a good idea to cultivate an expectation of providing both a casual means of receiving updates alongside the formal reporting at agreed milestones or dates. This can be done through chat functions in cloud-based software or scheduled 10-minute chats.
- Hard to facilitate collaboration, communication and support from other remote employees or teams
It can be difficult for existing teams to collaborate with a remote interim as it can be daunting to reach out to someone you don’t know. The best way to tackle this kind of issue is to emphasise the importance of the interim’s contribution and how they fit into the larger picture. This will help employees see how the interim and their project contribute to the future of the company or team.
Interims themselves are very experienced in working with teams, however, and will be very comfortable inserting themselves into conversations and taking on any and all leadership responsibilities required – even remotely!
Motivational techniques to keep your interim managers functioning at full capacity:
Some of the best motivational techniques to employ to keep an interim manager consistently hitting targets can be implemented right from the start when they have signed the contract. These include:
- Outlining clearly in a thorough brief what is expected from their performance and deliverables deadlines
- Giving a detailed description of company structure and how the team or employees they will be working with directly work
- Encouraging team rapport and collaboration
- Setting up a timeline for when discussions or updates on the project can be expected
It is important to remember that many interim managers have years of experience and many are used to working flexibly so there shouldn’t be too many issues in terms of performance, but having these structures in place will help shareholders of various levels or seniority feel reassured in your interim’s work.
Oakwood Resources can help to accelerate your business requirements by sourcing interim managers who are assessed based on their skills and experience and who can work alongside you to deliver successful outcomes for your business operational needs.