How can you quickly plug a skills gap when a senior-level employee leaves?


No matter what the scenario, when there is a skills gap amongst top-level executives, it will need to be filled as quickly as possible. Whether there is a team that needs to be led, several teams or even a department, or a project’s management that needs to be overseen, etc., any high-level skills gap within the company could have significant effects on the day-to-day operation of the organisation, or impact time-critical project delivery.


Why might you have to plug a skills gap in the workplace quickly?

There are several reasons why you may find yourself in a position where you need to address a skills gap in your organisation quickly, many of which are out of your control and hard to foresee:


  • Unexpected succession planning for retiring employees
  • Sudden sabbatical for personal or health purposes
  • An unexpected death
  • A project took longer than expected to complete
  • In-house expertise was no longer able to support a project

What are the options to plug a skills gap when an employee leaves?

How you choose to plug a skills gap in the workplace depends on your individual business requirements and needs such as:

  • Size of your organisation
  • Budget
  • Available time to hire
  • Required skills and experience

Because of these factors, there is no one-size-fits all approach to closing the skills gap left by a senior-level employee though there are a number of strategies to consider when planning how to move forward effectively.

Although it is hard to predict and therefore prevent a sudden loss of a senior-level employee, it is important to address the skills needed to ensure your economic output remains consistent and that your remaining employees’ productivity isn’t impacted. There are two different approaches when considering your options to plug a skills gap and both have their advantages and disadvantages.


1. Employ a permanent employee

If you would prefer to invest in a permanent replacement to secure the necessary high-level skills for the long-term success of your business, then employing a permeant senior-level member of staff may be the preferred solution for you.



  • You get the full-time support for the department or project for years to come
  • They can become an integral part of the business
  • You won’t have to periodically search for senior temporary or contract staff



  • Time to hire can risk the timelines for potential project(s)
  • You may not find the right person with the right level of experience for the price you want
  • Increased time to hire due to having to scope out a complicated role (particularly if that former employee had been with the organisation for a long time)
  • A restructure may need to be considered which can be time-consuming and complex


2. Engage interim manager support

Interim managers can offer instant capability and can be sourced based on project-specific experience with similar organisations. If you’re reluctant to take on someone full time, or have time pressure to deliver on a project, bringing in an interim manager could be the answer.



  • You get the right level of experience at a cost-effective price
  • The individual will be able to who step in, take control and start delivering results right away
  • Interim managers are highly skilled, senior-level resources
  • They can provide a roadmap for onboarding replacement senior-level staff
  • They will ensure change-management is well embedded across the business



  • You can only get legacy knowledge transfer rather than a permanent support figure
  • Policies and compliance regulations of engaging contractors can be time consuming if you’re not sure on legislative requirements


When to engage an interim manager

Interim managers are a valuable and knowledgeable resource and may benefit your business in many ways, depending on your individual business requirements. While engaging an interim may not be a long-term solution, hiring an independent senior-level professional who can hit the ground running and take on the responsibilities left to ensure results and continued success is highly beneficial.


When a senior-level employee leaves, here are some variables to consider when deciding if your business could be supported by interim management services:

  • A long-term project needs continued support
  • You need someone to step in and help with day-to-day running of the business
  • You don’t have the time or the resources to train in-house
  • You need a cost-effective solution that requires minimal onboarding or supervision


Oakwood Resources can provide our valued clients with an IR35 solution that manages the entire process, from status assessment to process consultation, so you can confidently and compliantly maintain your flexible workforce outside IR35.

We can help to accelerate your organisation by sourcing interim managers that are assessed based on their experience in the market.


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