Jean DUGAS’ interview

Interim Management is very regularly requested in the field of HR.

Real pillars of the company, HR managers require many skills and human qualities in order to achieve, often, demanding interim projects.

What is the role of interim managers involved in Human Resources? What type of communication is to be developed in changing companies? In which direction should the next generation of HR Managers go?

Find out about interim HR Manager Jean Dugas‘s human, creative and positive vision.

RE : What is your point of view on what interim managers can provide in the field of HR?

JD : “The interim manager’s first skill is to have the understanding of business issues.
Working on a reorganization leads to firstly working on business topics before HR topics. If an interim HR manager is required, there is a reason. The interim manager must understand this reason very quickly.”

“The technical skills must also be outstanding. He must master his know-how, which he can spread in a timely manner. He adapts his expertise to a specific context, without only using copypaste of what he has already done. He is not limited by this expertise. On the contrary, he is capable of adapting it to different situations.”

“The interim HR manager is, furthermore, an external eye which may help to make the directions taken by the company more understandable, and possibly more acceptable for the members of staff. He can improve communication at all levels (Managers, Staff, Representatives, Board, General Management). This communicative role is very important during the interim period, which is a phase of significant change, and I believe that we cannot implement such important transformations in companies without taking the people into account. It is my conviction!”


“If we are clear on the challenges, and we explain why these changes must be made, teams will understand better and collaborate more as stakeholders. This goes in the way of both business and people. Human resources must be a winwin policy. As interim Managers, our voice has credibility especially since we are not supposed to stay – our assignments are temporary. We can help the company to “turn the page” more easily.”

RE : Which methods do you think are necessary for interim HR assignments?

JD : “Transparency. In a merger operation for instance, individual and collective statuses are different. We perfectly know that the risk is to increase the cost. You may have total salaries which, for the same job, are 10 % higher in company B in comparison to company A. However, the economical context does not allow to align everybody on 110 %. We have to clearly explain that we are making a merger for certain reasons, but for other reasons, we cannot grant the best status to all. We clarify data, we show the information to the staff and to the representatives.”


“I believe in the positive virtues of listening and dialogue because if we do that, it is to get the company to feel better, and maybe range everybody to 110% in the future if the situation improves. But at the moment, while we are dealing with this operation, it is impossible and we explain it.”

“Time management is also important. It is a mix between taking time to think and actually implementing. During an assignment, there can be some time to brainstorm, but once we are on the way there is no turning back. We can consider alternative options before launching the action, but in interim management you only have one shot at getting it right. Assignments last between five months and one and a half years, so during this period there is a time for thinking, a time for explaining, but then, at a certain point, action must be taken.”

“Time management in France is a little more difficult to deal with, compared to other countries. I work internationally, so when you explain to your European Head-quarters that in France, to implement a new performance appraisal support, you must firstly consult the Committee for Health and Safety, and prior to this, ask for an external audit by the Secafi Alpha firm, which is a company that supports staff representatives…. Industrial relations processes in France are longer and more complicated than abroad. Sometimes the international groups are a bit surprised by the time management for HR in France. The interim manager must know how to explain the specific HR context in France, in order to convince and secure foreign investors.”

RE : In which direction should the next generation of HR Managers go?

JD : “Collaborative work on interim projects. We need communication in multi-skills project teams including finance, sales, production, operations…. We need interactive communication. At the moment, there is much talk about agile organizations. Communication must be quick and there must be mutual added value between stakeholders in the company.”

“Needless to say, that interim managers’ experience in HR provides immediate answers to the needs of changing groups. In general, Human Resources are at the heart of employee well-being, and lead to good internal communication. This vital function in the companies requires cutting-edge skills and a permanent sense of adaptability.”

At Reactive Executive, we have the best HR profiles in interim management that will perfectly match your current needs. Contact us!