WHEN YOUR STAR EMPLOYEE RESIGNS
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So your top employee has just resigned. Now what?
When one of your best employees quits, expect that some people in your team will be all eyes and ears to see how you will react.
It’s never easy to work through a star employee quitting, but there are ways to deal with it and steps you can take to make it easier, not just on yourself but on the whole company.
Stay calm, it’s not the end of the world.
People who have decided to leave don’t appreciate the ‘how can you do this to me?’ scene when they first give their notice. Just breathe, relax, and be happy for the person. After all, it may be that the skills you have taught them have enabled them to get promoted. This is a compliment for you. You could even ask them about the new organization they’re joining or what their plans are. Keep in mind that in this day of social media, news travels very quickly, so you don’t want the employee to leave with ill will.
Don’t assume you must instantly replace them.
But at the same time, don’t assume the remaining staff will automatically pick up the extra workload either. Have an honest conversation with your employee to see if they would recommend anyone from the team to step up into their position. You could make the best of a bad situation using this as an opportunity to advance existing staff to the next level. You could also see if they have any idea for doing their role more effectively.
Share not just the departure, but also your plans for replacement with the team.
Don’t wait for the rumours to spread. It’s important to be candid with your employees. Be clear that while the departure is unfortunate, change is unavoidable, and tell them about your solution to make it through the turbulence.
Consider using the ‘notice’ period for training.
If you already have someone in mind as a replacement from within the team, discuss the option of your star employee using their time to mentor their team member as their replacement. Not everyone will be suited or feel comfortable about this arrangement, so don’t force the issue.
Conduct an exit conversation.
Where this conversation differs from the one held after termination, you need to do most of the listening. Don’t take anything said personally, instead using it as a guide for how you can improve your company and team culture, and possibly prevent additional resignations.
All in all, it’s important that you handle changes such as this with grace. Have you ever had to handle a resignation from a top performer? Or have you ever had to resign from a job? How did the company handle your resignation? Share your comments and experiences below.
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