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Talent Strategies for Modern Business: Leveraging the Interim Executive Model – Part 3

Part-Time Human Resources

Leveraging the Interim Executive Model

We never know from one day to the next when contacted by clients what their situation will be and which combination of resources and expertise they will need. Though many businesses share a number of underlying principles about how they run and how they are successful, each company is unique. They differ in any number of ways: where they are in their lifecycles, how they were founded and by whom, what has spurred growth, the leadership team, the culture, the challenges, and what type of expertise is needed at this point. 

At Cerius, we have been working with companies for more than a decade to find the right interim executive at the right time to help organizations fill their exact needs.

Organizations can leverage the expertise of an interim executive to get what they need in flexible, affordable ways. To offer just a few ideas, the following four chapters offer rare views inside a number of companies and show how they leveraged interim executives to bring them success through part-time and interim placements in small, midsized, and Fortune 100 situations. 

Part-Time Human Resources: Getting More Talent to Keep Your Talent

A $750 million health care company had been growing very rapidly (both organically as well as via acquisition) over the previous five years, but their human resources department had not kept up with the times, and they were losing too many good people. Many were new hires within the first 90 days (a.k.a., 90day quick quits). 

One contributing factor was an inconsistent hiring and interviewing process to select top talent. Another significant gap in the process was a lack of focus on candidate care. A lot of extra work was being performed through duplication of work and forms; some departments were still using their own forms and templates rather than those that had been standardized across the company. 

There were no strong onboarding programs, talent management, or retention programs, and the HR systems were antiquated. The company’s leadership soon brought in a chief human resources officer (CHRO), Roger, who brought with him fresh ideas on how to strengthen the hiring infrastructure, performance management, and retention to better support the company’s growth. But he could not bring in enough people with the right experience to get everything in place fast enough.

Roger turned to the interim management market and brought in an experienced, part-time human resources executive, Debra, who worked three to four days per week in coordination with his internal team. With this experienced outside help, the two were able to accomplish a number of initiatives more quickly than originally thought. 

To help ensure understanding and consistency across the organization, Debra developed and implemented a hiring and interviewing skills workshop for leaders. One of the biggest pieces of feedback she gathered from the workshops was the need for templates and tools. Debra created a number of templates and sample tools, all accessible online, including checklists for both managers and candidates, job KPIs, interview guides, and a job preview; all were deployed across the organization. 

Over 300 leaders experienced the hiring and interviewing skills workshop. It was also made available as an online training module for newly hired leaders, where they could review the tools and templates until they were able to go through training on using them in person. 

Overall, the organization’s voluntary attrition was reduced by 5 percent.

Debra’s work created a strong support system for leaders throughout the organization. As she was winding down her project with Roger, other business unit leaders began requesting unit-specific support from Debra. As needed, she stepped in to support them and help get some traction with their talent acquisition and training initiatives. 

Lesson Learned: Part-Time Human Resources

Given the right tools based on best practices in human resource management, recruiting, and retention, a company can upgrade its management and talent practices with surprisingly few resources—in a surprisingly short amount of time. Attracting and retaining good employees with the help of a part-time talent management expert is a group commitment, but creating the infrastructure required to support that commitment can be a project handled by one highly skilled, part-time executive.

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