The term ‘temp’ is often associated with clerical positions however in Hong Kong’s rapidly evolving workplace, savvy hiring managers are increasingly opting to choose project-based consultants. It’s a trend that is giving businesses value for money, while allowing workers to love what they do, even if it’s not always with the same employer.
Growing awareness of the benefits of hiring interim staff is underpinned by the expansion of new projects right around Hong Kong. The 2015 Robert Half Hong Kong Salary Guide confirms that 51% of business leaders in Hong Kong cite new projects as a key driver of finance and accounting recruitment. It’s a similar picture in other Asian countries too, and new project development is playing an equally strong role in IT recruitment.
The challenge business leaders face is that new projects don’t always create – or call for – permanent or full-time roles, especially in the early stages. The solution can lie with senior project consultants, who are typically highly trained and experienced specialists able to provide innovative solutions to support an organizations existing management team. That makes them ideal for both short- and long-term finance projects, especially during times of transition.
What to expect from an Interim Consultant?
Project based consultants don’t just bring value for money to a workplace. Industry research suggests they also offer the ability to study an organisation’s finance, accounting and business systems from an objective viewpoint, and then work within your company’s existing structure to achieve a specified goal or stay on until a project is completed.
For example, after preliminary meetings with a potential project-based CFO or CIO, during which you discuss your company’s needs and the parameters of their involvement, the executive may analyse the situation and prepare a proposal that includes a diagnosis, objectives, and a plan to implement the necessary changes. From here, the interim consultants will carry out this plan from start to finish. Once the project is complete, you’ll have the opportunity to review the results with him or her as well as key stakeholders.
Benefits of interim consultants
For hiring firms, project-based consultants offer three key benefits. To begin with, it is a very cost-effective option as the business only needs to bring in the consultant for as long as their services are required. This gives startups and struggling businesses a budget-friendly opportunity to profit from the skills of highly experienced CFOs or CIOs.
In addition, they offer an objective and neutral perspective. This is especially helpful when it comes to managing controversial finance and accounting projects as the interim professional isn’t caught up in the politics of the situation.
Moreover, project-based executives are flexible, both in terms of schedule and skills. They are often available on short notice and are able to tackle nearly any type of project. As the role is not permanent, firms can afford to look for talent with very specific skills rather than the broad ‘all-rounder’ talents that may be required for a permanent role.
Possibilities for project-based executives
Like all project professionals, financial and IT consultants are often ideal for solving highly specific problems. This can make project-based or interim executives invaluable during times of change such as acquisitions and mergers, one-off projects, sudden vacancies in management, or other transitional periods. Consultants with executive experience are also ideal in crisis management situations.
Interim consultancy solutions can also be in high demand from startup businesses that may be unable to afford a highly experienced full-time project manager or CIO. Yet the skills an interim manager can provide may be critical to the success of capital raising activities or preparations for initial public listings.
Benefits for both parties
Interim consultants are an invaluable resource for many companies including those undergoing transition or just starting up. Highly skilled and experienced professional workers can step in and see a project through from start to finish, offering businesses a specialised, and cost-effective management solution.
On the flipside, skilled finance and IT consultants, who are looking for variety and flexibility, can find that consulting work offers the thrill of a challenge while letting you love what you do. If you are interested in recruiting for an interim consultant position, including project managers, business transformation and change managers or other project-based positions, contact our Hong Kong office today.