When a Boss Leaves

A recent study by the firm Robert Half Canada shows how employee productivity risks taking a hit after a senior manager’s departure.


The respondents to the survey, which included 390 professionals and 270 CFOs, believe that the departure of a senior manager negatively impacts productivity during the period that the post remains vacant. Out of the employees consulted, 18% believe that the departure greatly reduces productivity and 51% believe that it somewhat reduces productivity. The CFOs consulted are even more definitive: 60% of them believe that productivity can be somewhat reduced.

The departure of a boss can send a negative message to employees and cause insecurity and concerns that are always preferable to avoid. The primary cause of this dip in productivity following a departure, according to 49% of employees and 42% of CFOs, is decreased morale and low motivation.

The Importance of Good Communication

Transparency is key during transitions. When someone leaves the company, employees want to know what will happen. They ask themselves a lot of questions and seek reassurance.

According to Greg Scileppi, President of International Staffing Operations at Robert Half, when a senior manager of a team leaves a company, “employers should mitigate the risk of decreased morale or increased turnover by keeping their teams informed, motivated, and engaged while moving quickly to replace the open position.”

Concerns about an increased workload, job security, or the relationship with a new boss also have an impact on productivity, according to an average of 18% of the respondents to the survey. 18% of CFOs are also convinced that internal competition for the vacant post affects productivity, but this concern is only shared by 3% of employees.

Tips to Avoid a Drop in Productivity

In order to keep productivity loss to a minimum, the staffing experts at Robert Half recommend preparing succession and hiring pipelines, considering appointing an interim manager, acting quickly, and exercising transparency by keeping everyone up to date with the process of finding a new manager to improve morale and limit the spread of rumours.

According to Robert Half, most hiring processes take too long, especially in the candidates’ opinion, and this can be detrimental for employers.

To prepare for succession and be ready to respond to these departures, it is advised to see who within the company would be interested and ready to move into a role with more responsibility. Keeping a trusted recruiter available to the company is also recommended. Lastly, to keep projects and work teams from being too disrupted by the departure of a manager, consider hiring an interim manager to follow up and keep ongoing work from stalling.

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