Seeking A Second Innings…

Seeking A Second Innings…

Hiring a temporary CXO is good to address an immediate organisational issue. However, organisations need young, ambitious and innovative professionals who are willing to take risks, learn, and bounce back with tremendous resilience.


With the increased localisation of manufacturing, many businesses are experiencing a shortage of talent at the top and functional head levels. Reports from business media indicate that companies are resorting to hiring external temporary talent to meet their immediate needs. This reflects the impact of the pandemic and its influence on businesses in terms of shortage of talent with the requisite mindset and skillsets.


Recently, a large-sized manufacturing company had a pressing need to reorganise its business by shutting down one of its factories. But it did not have a senior leader who could lead the various aspects of shutting down the business including technical, labour and compliance-related issues. Since finding a full-time executive would be time-consuming, it roped in a ‘contractual CEO’. This CEO completed the job in the stipulated time and also found a buyer for the plant.


The hiring of young talent for key positions in organisations in the past have resulted in a shortage, widening the gap between well-accomplished talent with diverse and multiple sets of experience. It is about time for organisations to commit resources – time, efforts, funds and people if they want readymade (PLUG AND PLAY TALENT) through internal organisational channels. This will require organisations to understand the demands and needs of the future mindsets, skillsets, toolsets and behaviour sets required in their key talent to deliver business results. This is due to huge business opportunities that will emerge globally in the post pandemic scenario. The hiring of young engineers and MBAs is not a solution to such an emerging problem.


However, to fill such pressing gaps, several organisations are hiring temporary CXOs and functional heads. Owing to their de-hiring due to the pandemic, a large pool of super-specialists looking for short term job stints is evidently available. Some of the sectors that are likely to pick up are mining and metals, airports, edutech, fintech, consumer tech and many other emerging areas. For various reasons, talent is unavailable for these sectors.


Generally, Temp CXOs are above 55 years of age, are well accomplished with rich experience, and given their exposure, are above the corporate rat race. Therefore, they are beyond designations and are comfortable with innovative titles. It is believed that a vast array of experienced talent looking forward to a second innings in a new role is available. The other reason behind the huge availability of huge talent for interim and flexi-assignments is that people have decided not to work full time beyond a certain age because of corporate and individual mismatch for full-time roles in the new age organisations.


Further, an interim superspecialist can hit the ground running and the company is most assured of the outcome. It could also be in a transition role when a CEO has suddenly resigned and someone needs to hold the fort for the interim period. A change agenda that needs an outsider to execute in a strategic role and methodical manner also comes to play. This could be a good testing and training ground for an understudy to learn from the experience and style of a well accomplished and seasoned professional.


There is no substitute for the systematic training and development interventions for the young cadre of the organisation. Hiring a temporary CXO is good for addressing an immediate organisational issue. Organisations need young, ambitious and innovative professionals who are willing to take risks, learn, and willing to bounce back with tremendous resilience.


Rakesh Seth is a Chief HR Mentor, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker, and Visiting Professor. He has an experience of over 30 years and has worked with the Tatas, Thapars, Anands, Shriram-Honda, Everest (ACC), LNJB and Lloyds in CHRO roles. He is author of The Ambitious Executive, Every Manager Should Know HR and A New Leader in the Digital Age (Kindle). Rakesh is an alumnus of FMS, University of Delhi, and holds the Business Leaders programme from IIM Kolkata.


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