The future of work is interim

Did you know that the future of work is interim? In the future it is only becoming more important that businesses react and adapt quickly. According to Christian Hvashøj, partner & CEO at Nextt Management claims that in the future, interim managers, freelancers and substitutes will play an important role.

How do you think that the future of work will look like in the future?

”The future of work will be characterised by change and we see that trends like the Gig Economy, project-based workforce and freelancers are gaining traction. Seven out of ten of our interim managers say that the reason behind them leaving their safe job is that they are tired of interal meetings and constantly needing to think about how they could reach their next promotion, while their management role is being undermined.

Being in an interim manager position you always use a degree of leadership and that is why I believe that more and more people will go down that path, now that businesses are starting to realise the benefits of a flexible workforce from various places. For many years, interim managers have been hired into companies to deal with turn-around cases, where either they have had to act as fire extinguishers or get the company back on its feet. Nowadays, interim managers are placed in companies that are experiencing intense growth at such fast pace that they are lack the knowledge to deal with these growth spurt. In cases like these, the company will get an interim manager who has had experience in dealing with such challenges and can do it in a quick manner. We are expected to see more of this in the future.”

What is flexible workforce?

”The definition of flexible workforce from Nextt Management’s perspective is that you can get work and managerial resources on flexible terms. You can hire people for an agreed time period and get rid of them easily and cheaply- which is not possible in the same way for a permanent employer. The young generation has a different mindset than the older ones, hence it is also more acceptable for them to stamp in and out-as well on managerial positions-as long as their competencies are being used as good as possible. They have grown up with flexibility and expectations and requirements for their working lives and hence there is no need for them to get a silver needle. Hence, it is a growing trend which suits them.”

What do you think will define the labor market in the future?

”We all have to find out what it is we are working for. Companies need to find the direction of where the permanent employee is heading. It becomes a question of trying to get the interim managers, freelancers and others who work with flexible contracts to work in addition with the permanent employees.”

How do interim managers fit into the “future of work”?

”Interim managers have a mindset that focuses on solutions. They know they cannot reach the goal by themselves, and since they are not bounded by career, politics and hierarchy, they can clearly and without biases see the problem at hand and from that take necessary action to execute the strategy. Interim managers are not locked down by making decisions based on what the closest managers think is the right strategy, but rather they see what is the right decisions for the company and the client. Since they do not have to position they have to defend, the interim manager is not afraid to make decisions. This is the type of mindset that businesses will need in the future, since they have to be ready to adapt.”

Do you think more hirings of this type will become more common?

“Yes I believe that the market for interim will grow- in different forms. The reason for it is that the candidates wish for a more flexible and independent worklife while at the same time, the businesses are seeing the benefits of having this level of flexibility that the candidates offer. Already for three-four years ago, we noticed that more candidates came to us and said that they’d like to become interim managers because they wished that their management skills was being put into play-they did not experience this during their corporate career. In short, they would like to have greater possibility to add value. It was interesting because typically, interim managers have been up in the years and been secured in their financial situation, but here someone came that normally needed a stable salary but now required something else than what the established labor market could offer. We are currently seeing a growing demand and number of interim, substitues and freelancers. The industry for it is growing and this goes hand in hand that more businesses are in need of adaptation and hence require a greater degree of flexibility-also on a managerial level.”

How should companies prepare themselves for the future?

“The greatest competitive parameter will be businesses readiness to change. Businesses shall look at their business and consider flexibility in all parts of their business from production to the organising part. Businesses have to be agile and have the ability to adapt, because in the environment we are moving in is a fast one. If there is a void in the market, you cannot wait 12-18 months anylonger to lay a strategy. Nowadays it is all about taking action right away, and it will have to go even faster in the future.

It is not only about physical adapatation- it is also about adapating the way people work. No matter how much we digitalize and roboticice it is still people involved and hence senior managers need to adapt their mindset so they can drive quicker change than what they are doing today. Finally it is also about competencies and experience so that businesses are not compeltely start from fresh once they need to change direction. Interim managers are here the perfect tool to use since they have the experience, knowledge network and leadership that is required to be a part of creating a fast change.” Christian Hvashøj concludes.