Catching up with the HR Interims…

As they near the end of their current assignments, we caught up with Senior HR Advisors Lynn and Gillian for a chat about their work recently and just about being an Interim in general.

Tell me about your current assignment

G: Currently I am working for an engineering company based in the South East of England. They are a division of a large multi-national organisation. My assignment is to support the Engineering and General Manager through a reorganisation of their engineering function. This reorganisation is realigning the function so that it utilizes its employees more efficiently by having cross-functional teams per product line and creates better defined career paths. The new structure means the business will be better positioned for growth and scaleability.

L: At the moment I’m on assignment with a client who has grown significantly since the beginning of the pandemic – the reason for this being that their was just an increased demand for their services, which are quite niche, due to impact of Covid-19. Up until I joined them as an interim, they didn’t have a dedicated HR person in place, and with the rapid increase in staff, it was clear this was something the business needed. My role as interim HR Manager was to carry out a review of the company’s contracts – checking Ts and Cs etc. – policies, procedures, handbooks, etc. – essentially just ensuring that everything was legal and compliant. My Hunter Adams colleagues have been working with the business simultaneously to source a permanent HR Manager to fill the position, and when that person is in post I’ll spend some time handing everything over to them so that the transition process is seamless. Because most of the groundwork will be done by that point, it should be fairly straightforward for the new person to pick up where I’ve left off, and they will then go on to implement the HR systems that are required to manage the increased number of staff.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced on this assignment?

L: Like lots of previous assignments, the volume of work has been exceptionally high, particularly since a lot of what I’m doing first involves working out what has already been done, unpicking some of it where necessary, and then redoing it in a way that ensures compliance.

G: This assignment was about managing change and not headcount reduction, which was a positive in these uncertain times. The challenge for me was probably picking up a project and changing how it should be implemented in terms of consultation and implementation. It was important to achieve a balance between the commercial needs of the business and effective communication and employee engagement to ensure buy-in from employees.

What benefits do you feel your support has brought your client?

G: I think as a consultant you bring a fresh set of eyes to an assignment and a different way of doing things. I like to think that I have brought commercial solutions to this re organisation and a can do attitude.  There have been a few hurdles but my role is to provide business focused solutions and advise the client on options available.

L: I feel that by the time I leave the business will be in better shape and in a good position to move forward with the processes I’ve put in place. I have also helped them to understand that recruitment is a specialist skill and particularly when recruiting for key positions it’s definitely worthwhile involving an experienced recruitment professional to ensure the process is carried out correctly and you get the right person first time.

What do you like most about working as an interim consultant?

L: I love the variety of work you get, and the different businesses and clients you are exposed to. No two assignments are the same!

G: Since working as an interim consultant I have liked the variety of roles and challenges that different assignments bring. Interim assignments gives me the chance to work on interesting and varied contracts. I also quite enjoy not getting bogged down in the bureaucracy and office politics that can happen when you work as a permanent colleague, so you can really focus on getting things done. I also enjoy the ability to demonstrate my skills and experience in often challenging situations and being able to hit the ground running and make a difference.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career as an interim?

G: I can’t think of one specific challenge , but I think in general terms being an interim means that you must develop rapport and credibility quickly with each new client you are assigned to which can be challenging but at the same time is also rewarding when you meet and often exceed their expectations which is a great feeling.

L: In all honesty the part I find most difficult is the occasions when there’s been a gap between assignments and I’ve returned to the Hunter Adams project team – as an interim you get used to working at considerable pace on client assignments, so when this slows down a little it can be difficult to adapt to!