Exploring Hiring Strategies for Membership Organisations During Senior Management Transitions.

When a senior manager leaves a membership organisation, it can be a pivotal moment requiring careful consideration of hiring strategies. Each option presents unique advantages and challenges, influencing the organisation's culture, efficiency, and long-term success.

In this article, we delve into five hiring options for membership organisations when a senior manager departs, examining the pros and cons of each approach to help leaders make informed decisions during periods of transition.

Promote from within and fill a more junior position

Promoting from within can be a strategic move for membership organisations looking to maintain continuity and morale. By elevating a talented individual from within the organisation, you demonstrate a commitment to employee development and provide an opportunity for career advancement.

However, it's essential to ensure that the promoted individual possesses the necessary skills and experience to step into the role effectively. Additionally, filling the vacated senior position with a more junior employee may require additional support and training to bridge any skill gaps, and while it may be seen positively by some colleagues, for others at a similar level it may lead to resentment.

Here are the pros and cons:


  • Morale Boost: Promoting from within demonstrates to employees that hard work and dedication are recognised and rewarded, fostering a positive organisational culture.
  • Knowledge of organisational dynamics and internal system set-up: Internal candidates are already familiar with the organisation's culture, processes, and challenges, which can lead to quicker onboarding and integration. They’ll also have built trust from colleagues, which should help them to take the step up.
  • Cost-Effective: Hiring internally can be more cost-effective than recruiting externally, as there may be fewer expenses associated with training and orientation. You will likely need to fill the role of the promoted individual, which can be achieved more seamlessly.


  • Skills Gap: Promoting someone into a more senior role may leave a skill gap in the position they previously held, requiring additional training or hiring to fill the void.
  • Limited Perspective: Internal candidates may lack fresh perspectives and innovative ideas that external hires could bring to the organisation.
  • Resentment Among Employees: If the promotion process is not transparent or fair, it may lead to resentment and disengagement among other employees who were passed over for the promotion.

Louise Shepherd, Education and Training Recruitment Manager at Membership Bespoke agreed,

“This can be a fabulous solution for organisations, particularly when there is an obvious co-worker who is ready to take the step-up.

“Being popular and good in an operational role, won’t necessarily translate naturally into becoming a good manager from day one. They will need lots of guidance, support and training, and it’s important to consider where that may come from.”

Bring in a senior person on a fixed-term contract to restructure the team

Bringing in a senior leader on a fixed-term contract can offer membership organisations the expertise needed to navigate transitions and implement strategic changes.

This approach allows the organisation to benefit from the experience and perspective of an external candidate without committing to a long-term employment arrangement. However, it's essential to clearly define the scope and objectives of the contract to ensure alignment with the organisation's goals.

Additionally, effective communication and integration efforts are critical to maximise the impact of the interim leader within the team.

Here are the pros and cons:


  • Immediate Impact: External hires with senior-level experience can bring new ideas, strategies, and best practices to the organisation, accelerating change and improvement.
  • Objective Perspective: External hires may offer an unbiased perspective on organisational issues, identifying opportunities for improvement that internal stakeholders may overlook.
  • Flexibility: Fixed-term contracts offer flexibility in terms of duration, allowing the organisation to access senior talent without committing to a long-term employment relationship.


  • Integration Challenges: External hires may face challenges integrating into the existing team and organisational culture, potentially leading to resistance or conflict.
  • Cost Considerations: Hiring senior talent on a fixed-term contract may be more expensive than promoting from within or hiring a permanent replacement, especially if the contract includes significant compensation or incentives.
  • Knowledge Transfer: There may be challenges in transferring knowledge and expertise from the external hire to internal team members, particularly if the contract is short-term or if there are confidentiality concerns.

Anna Christofis, Director of Temporary Recruitment at Membership Bespoke said,

“Since the pandemic, there are many more highly experience senior leaders prepared to work on a part-time or contract basis. They can bring Membership experience to their roles, as well as broader industry experience.”

Restructure a section of the business, promoting a senior manager to cover multiple teams

In some cases, restructuring a section of the business may be necessary to streamline operations and adapt to changing circumstances. Promoting a senior manager to cover multiple teams can help redistribute responsibilities and optimise resource allocation.

This approach requires careful planning and communication to ensure that the promoted individual has the capacity and support needed to effectively manage the expanded scope of their role. Additionally, ongoing monitoring and feedback mechanisms are essential to address any challenges or issues that may arise during the transition period.

Here are the pros and cons:


  • Streamlined Operations: Consolidating leadership roles can lead to clearer communication, streamlined decision-making, and improved coordination among teams.
  • Career Development: Promoting a senior manager to cover multiple teams provides an opportunity for career advancement and skill development, enhancing employee engagement and retention.
  • Enhanced Efficiency: By leveraging the expertise of a senior manager across multiple teams, the organisation can achieve efficiencies in resource allocation and project management.


  • Increased Workload: Overloading a senior manager with responsibilities for multiple teams can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and increased stress levels.
  • Talent Drain: Restructuring may create gaps in leadership at the team level, leading to talent drain or disengagement among mid-level managers who feel overlooked or marginalised.
  • Resistance to Change: Employees may resist restructuring efforts, fearing job insecurity or disruption to established workflows and relationships, potentially undermining the success of the initiative. It may be particularly problematic if the promoted manager isn’t recognised as having sufficient expertise by the new team they are managing.

Dennis Howes, Co-founder of Management Bespoke said,

“It is important that organisations take affirmative action. Unless it is well managed, they run the risk of compounding one problem with another down the line, if the promoted manager becomes unsettled, then it becomes a big role to fill if they become overwhelmed and decide to move on.

“It also makes the Membership organisation much more reliant on a single individual, which can lead to organisational and strategy implementation problems after a time.”

Recruit a direct replacement for the person leaving on an interim basis

Recruiting a direct replacement for the departing senior manager on an interim basis provides continuity and stability while the organisation conducts a thorough search for a permanent successor. This approach allows the organisation to maintain essential functions and leadership presence during the transition period.

However, it's crucial to select an interim leader who can quickly acclimatise to the organisation's culture and priorities while also possessing the skills and experience necessary to fulfil the role effectively. Clear expectations and regular communication are essential to ensure alignment between the interim leader and the organisation's goals.

Here are the pros and cons:


  • Continuity: Hiring an interim replacement ensures continuity in leadership and operations, minimising disruptions during the transition period.
  • Time to Search: An interim hire provides the organisation with time to conduct a comprehensive search for a permanent replacement without rushing the process.
  • Flexibility: Interim hires can offer flexibility in terms of availability and commitment, allowing the organisation to tailor the arrangement to its specific needs and timeline.


  • Limited Investment: Interim hires may lack the same level of investment and commitment as permanent employees, potentially impacting their motivation and performance.
  • Transition Challenges: Interim leaders may face challenges gaining the trust and respect of team members, especially if they are perceived as temporary or interim.
  • Cost Considerations: Hiring an interim replacement can be costly, particularly if the organisation needs to offer a competitive compensation package to attract qualified candidates for a short-term role.

Anna Christofis stated,

“I find that contract workers are very adept at getting embedded quickly within their new employers. They invariably have the soft skills to make an immediate impact.

"Many of the contract workers that I place are taken on permanently, as they soon become part of the workplace family.”

Recruit a permanent replacement for the person leaving

Recruiting a permanent replacement for the departing senior manager is often the preferred option for membership organisations seeking long-term stability and leadership continuity. This approach involves conducting a comprehensive search process to identify candidates who possess the qualifications, experience, and cultural fit required for the role. Effective succession planning and talent development efforts can help ensure a smooth transition and minimise disruptions to the organisation's operations. However, recruiting a permanent replacement may require a significant investment of time and resources, and it's essential to carefully evaluate candidates to make an informed hiring decision.

Here are the pros and cons:


  • Stability: Hiring a permanent replacement ensures stability in leadership and provides clarity for employees, stakeholders, and external partners.
  • Long-Term Vision: Permanent hires can contribute to the organisation's long-term strategic goals and vision, driving growth, innovation, and sustainability.
  • Investment in Talent: Recruiting a permanent replacement demonstrates the organisation's commitment to investing in talent development and succession planning.


  • Time and Resources: The recruitment process for a permanent replacement can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, requiring significant investment in defining the role, interviewing, and onboarding. There could be a significant gap before the new manager arrives, as many have long-term notice periods to serve with their existing employer before they can move.
  • Risk of Mismatch: There is always a risk that the permanent hire may not be the right fit for the role or the organisation, leading to potential turnover and disruption in the future.
  • Disruption During Transition: The transition period between the departure of the outgoing senior manager and the arrival of the permanent replacement may create uncertainty and instability within the organisation.

Tamandra Christmas, Recruitment Account Manager for finance roles at Membership Bespoke noted,

“You need to be absolutely sure that your new manager’s values align with your organisation. It is essential that there is complete transparency throughout the interview process on both sides. I find that facilitating this process is one of the most rewarding parts of my role.”


Each hiring option for membership organisations during senior management transitions comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of each approach and considering the organisation's unique needs, culture, and goals, leaders can make informed decisions that support continuity, stability, and long-term success.

Whether promoting from within, bringing in external talent, restructuring teams, or hiring interim or permanent replacements, the key is to prioritise transparency, communication, and alignment with the organisation's strategic objectives. With thoughtful planning and execution, membership organisations can navigate leadership transitions effectively and emerge stronger and more resilient in the process.

At Membership Bespoke, we have extensive experience with how membership organisations are structuring their staffing to meet the challenges ahead. Discover more about our expertise.