According to research from global staffing firm Robert Half, employees and those in leadership roles agree that having an unfilled senior manager position has an adverse effect on the team’s efficiency.
However, firm leaders (70 percent) are likelier to find it a greater problem than staffers (59 percent).
What are the biggest causes of lost productivity? Both groups cited decreased morale or motivation, increased workloads, and fear about job security or relationships with the new boss.
“When there are changes in management, employees often feel distressed by the unknown,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, said in a written statement. “To help ease the transition and allay any concerns, it’s essential for employers to communicate openly and often with staff.”
So, how can firm leaders help employees effectively navigate changes in management and avoid a drop in productivity? Robert Half offers the following four recommendations:
1. Cultivate succession and hiring pipelines. Know who on your team or in your firm might be ready to move into a bigger role, and keep a trusted recruiter on speed dial.
2. Consider an interim boss. If you don’t have someone who can step into a leadership position immediately, hire an interim manager to keep projects moving and workloads in check.
3. Don’t procrastinate. Minimize the time of uncertainty by filling the role in a timely manner.
4. Keep everyone informed. Update your team about the progress of the search for a new manager to help improve staff morale and keep rumors at bay.
“If a senior manager leaves a company, the focus should be on keeping teams motivated and engaged while quickly staffing the opening,” McDonald said. “Employers who don’t address workers’ concerns risk a decrease in employee performance and an increase in turnover.”