What to Do When Senior Management Resigns: 7 Smart Steps

December 22, 2021
December 22, 2021 Recruiterie

It’s not unusual for senior management to resign, but it seems that many companies find themselves unprepared when their leaders decide to move on to their next role elsewhere or retire. No matter how inspiring a leader might be, the fact is that senior management resignation is inevitable, so it will be worth preparing for such major changes in advance.

If you’re a company owner or another member of the top management, what should you do if a senior manager or even a senior management team resigns? Here are some helpful tips.

7 Smart Ways To Deal With a Senior Management Resignation

It can be extra disruptive when bosses leave — after all, they are the ones in charge of multiple teams and major projects. When the departure happens suddenly, it can cause employees to feel nervous and uncertain, especially if no replacement has been named yet.

The most urgent actions for the company are to keep morale high and to identify a new leader for everyone’s peace of mind. These tips can help your organization cope when a senior manager or management team resigns abruptly.

1. Tell the staff, and don’t panic.

When senior management unexpectedly resigns, keep calm and be professional about it. Key people leave for different reasons and, regardless if these are positive or negative, your goal as company owner or executive is to keep the organization as intact as possible during this sudden change.

It will be difficult to be upfront with your staff about the resignation, but it’s something you must do immediately before word-of-mouth information gets out of hand. Your employees will appreciate your honesty and will want to hear from you first. Be transparent about it without adding fuel to the fire and let your staff know that they are valuable to the transition.

2. Find out what’s happening — discreetly.

Avoid jumping to conclusions and feeling emotional about key people leaving. Instead, find out what prompted the resignation and take action to prevent it from happening in the future.

There are several scenarios to this situation. You might have lost a senior manager who holds the team together and is well-loved by all, or the resignation might be a good thing because the company has been underperforming and actually needs a change of pace.

Your response to the sudden resignation will depend on what triggered the departure. It might be an issue that goes deep into the company structure and values, and it could be the sign that you need to make changes for the better.

3. Don’t take it personally.

As mentioned, there are a multitude of reasons why senior leaders or senior management teams resign, and as the owner it is important that you don’t react impulsively to the decision. While it’s understandable to feel disappointed, remember that it might have also been difficult for them to leave a senior role.

People leave even great jobs to do what is best for them, so don’t be too hard on yourself and, instead, focus on what happens next for the good of the employees who remain and the company.

4. Consider whether this change might be good for the company.

If your firm has been dealing with senior staff whose values don’t align with the company’s, the departure might be a good thing. Take the change as an opportunity to look into the other talent within the firm who would fit the empty role effectively, or to search for new talent externally.

5. Prepare to execute your contingency plan.

In the short term, you can appoint an interim executive to make sure operations continue to move smoothly while you are on the lookout for new senior leadership. Because interim leaders are not working full time and are only there for the transition, their valuable insights might help set the company up for success minus the cost of a fully engaged executive. If necessary, this could be the perfect time to restructure the firm.

At this sensitive period during the shift, it’s important for owners to focus on installing a temporary leadership team and keeping morale high.

6. Contact an experienced executive search firm.

Time is of the essence when senior management resigns and there’s nobody you can name internally to fill the position immediately. Partnering with an experienced executive search agency helps expedite the recruitment process while your company manages the challenges from the sudden change.

It’s complicated enough to have to take over a senior manager’s duties in the interim and keep spirits high, so it’s best to delegate the task of looking for a new executive to an agency that specializes in recruiting for senior management positions.

7. Step up your game.

Losing a senior manager is challenging, but it’s also an opportunity for the company to improve its processes. If possible, conduct an exit conversation with the departing boss and obtain insights on the company’s performance. People who are on their way out will be more forthcoming with their feedback.

Senior Management Suddenly Resigned? Recruiterie Can Help

Whether it’s just one person or an entire senior management team that resigned, your goal as company owner or leader is to make sure no major fires occur within the team when this happens. Everything boils down to how you respond to the sudden change, as the employees left behind will now be looking at you to determine their next moves. These tips above can help your company stay intact and strong while you look for new C-level leadership.

Recruiterie can help lighten the load by taking care of finding your next new senior executive in this challenging time. Reach out to the knowledgeable team at Recruiterie to help plan your next steps when someone from senior management resigns.


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