Should you bring on interim staff? The pros and cons.

Jamie Alexander

Director, JCA Arts Marketing

Jamie helps cultural organizations understand the behaviors of their audiences and create data-driven strategies to continually engage them.
January 26, 2022

As we move through this era of The Great Resignation, many arts and culture organizations find themselves short on staff—making it challenging to keep up with daily operations and progress towards long-term goals. Managers and leaders usually have two options as they search for new permanent, full-time employees: utilize existing staff to absorb the responsibilities of vacant positions, or hire external interim staff members to help fill the gaps. As former marketing and ticketing leaders, at JCA Arts Marketing we’ve been on both sides of the situation. So we’ve put together some pros and cons to consider as you weigh the best course forward for your team:

Pros of hiring external interim staff:

  • Relieves burden on existing staff. Having a current staff member step up to a position or take on additional responsibilities can add extra strain and negatively impact morale, risking further staff loss. Bringing on outside help allows current staff to focus on their core responsibilities and maintain their normal level of work.
  • Allows time for a thorough search. Interim staffers are experts at keeping tasks moving toward your goals, allowing you additional time to recruit, hire, and onboard an excellent candidate with potential for organizational longevity.
  • Brings in fresh ideas. Interim staff members can bring in a fresh perspective and ideas to help your team advance their work.
  • Provides expertise your team may be missing. Interim staff members may have skills and expertise that your current team is lacking. By bringing in an expert who can jump right in, you’ll be able to work more efficiently and effectively.
  • Cleanses the palate. Change is hard. Often, having a transition period between an old staff member and a new one allows time for the team to grow, and sets the new employee up for success.

Cons of hiring external interim staff:

  • Onboarding time. Bringing in a new team member from the outside can require extra onboarding to become familiar with the organization. (Luckily, interim staffers are used to stepping into organizations in a pinch and quickly getting to work.)
  • Team integration. You’ll need to take extra care to find an interim staffer who will get to know the team quickly and who can support full-time leaders in their vision.
  • Less availability. In today’s world of remote work, the ideal interim staffer may not be in your immediate geographic area. Interim staffers also tend to be part-time, making their availability limited. Be sure to clearly articulate your needs upfront, and make sure that anyone you bring in can fulfill those needs.

Weighing these pros and cons will help you make the right staffing decisions as you work to rebuild your team. And remember, the transition is temporary—with the right plan, you’ll soon be up and running with a successful new staff.

Are you in need of some transitional staffing support?

JCA Arts Marketing provides interim marketing and ticketing support. We can help:

  • Manage your Tessitura system. We offer Tessitura consulting and interim staff members to ensure your system is up to date. Our experts can help with your data, reporting, and Analytics needs.
  • Achieve your marketing goals. We offer interim staff to support data-driven campaign strategy and execution at the Marketing Director or Marketing Manager level.

Learn more about how we can assist in achieving your goals.

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