Skip to main content

Press Releases

New Release Paragraph

Read about our latest research, including results from our ongoing surveys of senior managers and workers, and company announcements.

Where's The Boss? Survey: Employee Productivity at Risk After Senior Managers Depart

MENLO PARK, Calif., Feb. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Employee productivity can take a big hit when the boss leaves, a new survey shows. According to research from staffing firm Robert Half, both workers and CFOs believe having a vacant senior manager role has an adverse impact on the team's efficiency, though those in leadership (70 percent) are likelier to find it an even greater problem than staffers (59 percent).

Decreased morale and motivation were the biggest reported causes of lost productivity among both groups, followed by concerns over increased workloads and fear about job security or relationships with the new boss.

View an infographic of the survey findings.

"When there are changes in management, employees often feel distressed by the unknown," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. "To help ease the transition and allay any concerns, it's essential for employers to communicate openly and often with staff."

Workers and CFOs were asked, "To what extent, if any, do you believe a senior manager's voluntary or involuntary departure from the organization impedes employee productivity while the role remains open?" Their responses:




Greatly impedes



Somewhat impedes



Does not impede employee productivity at all



Don't know







Those who said a senior manager's departure can impede productivity while the role remains unfilled were also asked, "Which one of the following do you believe is the greatest cause of lost productivity?" Their responses:




Decreased employee morale or motivation



Increased workloads



Fear about job security or the relationship with a new boss



Internal competition for the new position



Something else



Don't know






*Response does not total 100 percent due to rounding.


"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."  

Managers can avoid a drop in productivity and help employees effectively navigate changes in leadership by heeding this advice from Robert Half:

  • Cultivate succession and hiring pipelines. Know who in your department or company might be ready to move into a bigger role, and keep a trusted recruiter on speed dial.
  • 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.
  • Move quickly. Minimize the time of uncertainty by filling the role swiftly yet smartly, making sure you check off all necessary steps.
  • Keep everyone informed. Updating your team about the progress of the search for a new manager can help improve staff morale and keep rumors to a minimum.

About the Research
The surveys were developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms. The survey of workers includes responses from more than 1,000 U.S. professionals age 18 and over and employed in office environments. The CFO survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

About Robert Half 
Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm. The company has 325 staffing locations worldwide and offers job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at For career and hiring advice, visit the Robert Half Blog at


SOURCE Robert Half

For further information: ROBERT HALF, 2884 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, Lisa Amstutz, (650) 234-6246,