The Covid-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in many ways, especially for the HR industry. Carving a niche in the market is the Temp CxO trend, which has been catching up fast enough. For example, when you look back at 2008, the idea of a C-Suite leader – part-time or freelancing was very novel. Yet, the growth of startups, low on budgets, banked on the idea of expertise; even if that meant sharing the top executive with another company because they helped the company grow.
Understand the paradox: Startups could not afford the leadership that would help them thrive; expert and experienced leadership would let help their budding business to grow to the point of finally being able to afford great leaders.
Look at the solution: Temp CxO
For example, during its growth years, Vedantu CoHired a top-level executive/expert. “I worked with Outsourced CMO ( now COHIRE ) model with great results especially during our early stages when we did not have to engage a full-time person,” states Vamsi Krishna CEO & Co-Founder, Vedantu. “We gained access to a person of a very high caliber without wasting time and money.”
In a similar tone, Girish Rao, Chairman & MD, Vidal Healthcare, shared, “For a company like Vidal Health it made a whole lot of sense to [..] COHIRE. The experience that Outsourced CMO brought in helped us bring in the economy of scale along with an understanding of digital marketing space.”
With time, the Temp CxO concept would not have been limited to startups!
Now, a little more than a decade later, not only startups but even small to medium companies found the idea of a temp CxO advantageous. There were a few benefits to the Temp CxO concept as time passed. These included the ability to select from a pool of qualified candidates ready to be CoHired, an easy transformation from Temp to Perm CxO; and in case the latter wasn’t an option, no signing bonus payout, cost-saving solution to fill executive gaps quickly, uninterrupted succession planning, none to less employee-benefit expenditures and lowered severance costs! Add to this the ability to never again make a bad hire!
The prowess of Gig C-Suite aggregators such as COHIRE is such, that companies sometimes move onto the idea of perpetually CoHiring Gig CxOs. In a testimonial, Anand Inamdar CEO & Product Owner, Amoeboids Technologies stated, “We are all techies here at Amoeboids, without much of expertise in the marketing function. It made sense for us to get help from an experienced campaigner without taking on the risk of a bad hire. CoHire is a perfect concept for growing companies like ours. We plan to continue with CoHired CMO leading our marketing efforts and helping us build an in-house team.”
Again, the idea is not limited to the “inferred” C-Suite leaders
When we hear the term gig economy, we immediately think of contract workers, small-time roles or content creators, a limited side hustling role. Alternately, the term C-Suite leader rings the term CEO, CTO, CHRO, CPO, etc. Companies find the idea of the two terms together – Gig Economy and C-Suite Leaders – preposterous. (How does Temporary CEO sound? Amusing, right?).
To make the term more inclusive, we need to understand where a Temp CxO would suit the best:
A company cannot hire a CEO in a gig role. But the idea of permanently hiring, say an Investment Banker or a Quality Management Expert has been subject to a lot of debates. For example, an Investment Banker who handles activities like raising capital, leading M&As, preparing for an IPO and other financial needs for the company, is one of the highest pay-out jobs. Companies can hire an investment banker but they would lack the personal approach.
An Investment Banker Expert, with 10-15 years of experience can easily get the job done on a need basis. This means the company can CoHire a CFO (a C-Suite leader) or a finance expert, and in this case, a niche finance expert!
In another use-case for a Temp CxO, say a company cannot find the ‘perfect’ leader to head the company. That is, they lose their VP of something, or Chief something Officer (Voluntary or otherwise). The position can easily take 6-9 months to fill. This creates a gap and a distraught in the division. Further, many niche tech roles such as AI-ML Experts, Digital Transformation Leaders are scarce, the demand high. Many companies have been looking at filling the gap with an interim leader (in a gig role).
How does the future of Temp or Gig CxO look?
Finding the right top talent is not an easy job – startups or otherwise. The two personality-trait wheels of the organizational bike would be passion and experience. A young, ambitious and innovative professional can take risks, learn, and bounce back, but can an organization always afford that? This is when experience plays a very important role. An experienced, cautious and expert professional can make measured decisions, provide a positive network and can hit the ground running. That’s lucrative. Further, the above use cases signify a great potential for Temp CxOs.
Deepu Chandran, Co-Founder & CEO, Pikkol in a comment to ETHR pointed out that working with some senior professionals brings in a lot of value for the organization and the teams. “…Getting them onboard full-time may not be feasible early on. I feel that COHIRE is a solution that modern day business will do well to consider, especially those looking to scale up fast at low costs,” he comments.
Industry experts estimate that there would be over 130 million Gig Economy workers in India [Source: Tribune India]. But this takes a micro view and does not include the C-Suite potential of the gig economy in India. Taking into consideration a host of experienced individuals joining the gig bandwagon, the number may be considered more. The next 2-5 years would critically determine the course of CoHiring C-Suite experts in India.