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Turn to temporary managers to fill gaps and cut costs

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Issue: Temporary managers and executives can fill a short-term void and save money in the long run.

Benefit: Filling the right positions with interim replacements can enhance your reputation as a creative and strategic thinker.

Action: Read below to learn when to use temp bosses and where to find them.

A manager with unique expertise who runs a crucial department with a busy workload suddenly departs. No in-house replacement is available. Business could suffer during the time it takes to replace the manager. One option: Hire a temporary replacement.

More organizations are turning to temporary managers and executives as a way to contain payroll and benefit costs while keeping up productivity. Such interim bosses ac-counted for 11 percent of the temporary work force in 2003, up from 7 percent in 1998.

Who are these temporary managers? They're former corporate employees who retired early or lost their jobs to downsizing. Others are former business owners who sold their companies. Many do it for a living and have their own benefits packages. Assignments usually last from a few months to 18 months.

When should you hire temp managers? Use them to handle temporary workload increases, new product launches and training projects. Other uses include turnarounds of poorly performing departments and temporary marketing assignments.

Advantages: Save on medical benefits, pensions, severance packages and investment plans. Temps have the experience to hit the ground running.

Interim managers cost less in total salary and benefits than their full-time permanent counterparts. Fees range from about $25 per hour to $100 or more. Interim executives cost $750 to $4,000 a day, according to search firm Boyden. Even the most expensive temps generally cost up to 50 percent less than a consultant.

Disadvantages: Employees may wonder if the organization is looking for a quick fix and, therefore, not willing to invest in long-term management. Tip: Make it clear from the start that temps have top management's backing.

Resources: Access temporary managers at www.impactexecutives.com, www.adecco. com, www.mollere.com, www.aschergroup. com and www.guru.com.

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