Short-term hires can inject new life into an organisation, but also new chaos, according to a recruitment expert who says their briefs must be “extremely” clear.
If a short-term hire is filling a role that a permanent staff member will return to, they’ll ideally have a “very transparent conversation” with the incumbent to clarify expectations before that employee goes on leave, says Watermark Search interim management partner Caroline McAuliffe.
“If [the brief] is purely to sit in the chair [and] hold the fort – lead the team, manage problems, but not actually get involved in changing or implementing any strategy – if that’s agreed up front… there shouldn’t be any issue,” she says.
Sometimes during this period, however, the organisation will undergo unexpected change, and the interim worker might be asked to take on new responsibilities.
It, therefore, pays to “keep the channels of communication open” between the incumbent and their replacement, McAuliffe says.
“There’s nothing worse than someone coming back to their role to find it completely changed, or parameters moved, or policies put in place they were not consulted about… there’s got to be that sense of transparency and communication between all parties.”
The rise of the gig economy and “the new norm” of organisational transformation are making short-to-medium term contracts for other purposes, such as projectbased work and interim executive roles, increasingly popular she notes.
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