What To Do When A Top Employee Quits?

If you’re an experienced manager, you’ve probably been here. Your right hand, go-to person, and sometimes confidante decides their job isn’t for them anymore. It can be tough! To make matters worse, sometimes your employee blindsides you.If you’re new to the managerial role, the first time a trusted employee quits can be very overwhelming. Having someone you rely on decide to leave unexpectedly can cause you to feel hurt, confused, and even betrayed, depending on how long they worked under you.While this can be a temper tantrum inducing situation — resist the urge, this is not the way to go! There are processes to be followed and important next steps to be taken.To make the best out of a poor situation, here are some tips for you to make sure the process goes smoothly:

Bury your emotions

While the majority of health professionals wouldn’t recommend this in everyday life, it’s crucial in most professional settings. Refrain from fervently begging your employee to stay — suck it up and move on with things. In any office setting, many people will come and go. The best thing you can do is be professional and gracious. If they were a top performer, always attempt to maintain the relationship.If the person is as great as you perceived them to be, they deserve the opportunity to pursue something else. If you treat them with respect during off-boarding, they could even come back in the future or refer a talented friend.

Conduct an exit interview

While you may get the most candid answers if this step is done through a survey, the exit interview is most effective in-person. It’s crucial to gain a better understanding of the employee’s experience and their rationale for leaving the job.Don’t approach this meeting with the end game of changing their mind. While there’s always a possibility that in understanding their rationale for leaving, you can convince them not to — this is unlikely and you should take off your rose colored glasses immediately.Consider asking what they liked best about their job, if they were happy with the benefits, and what drew them to their new position.Great leaders should never be shocked when an employee quits. If you’re in a managerial position, it’s your responsibility to be aware of your team’s interests and needs. Did they seem disengaged? Did they outgrow the position? Maybe you missed something!

Manage the transition

When a key player leaves your organization, there will undoubtedly be an increased workload for other employees — don’t leave them hanging! Expect that other staff may be nervous about the transition period, reassure them that you’re confident moving forward and be transparent with your temporary and long-term plans for the position.Rather than worrying your team and making them feel overburdened — use the employee’s departure as an opportunity to discuss their careers and room for upward movementCould there be a more junior talent who is ready for the role? Does the role and corresponding responsibility need to be restructured before hiring someone new?These are important questions to ask yourself before impulsively replacing someone or needlessly worrying existing employees.

Cover all your bases

Every department should have detailed documentation of their processes. That way when you hire someone new, they can easily gain a general understanding of the position and its obligationsIf your departing employee gave proper notice, set up a shadowing day so that those who may be temporarily taking over their responsibilities can absorb what they need to.While it could be stating the obvious, always review your legal obligations as an employer. Termination of employment can be a source of liability. Make sure you have paid all accrued wages and disburse any accrued benefits.Do you need help ensuring all your processes are in place when an employee leaves? Our free Employee Departure Checklist will help you ask the right questions and document everything!


Originally published at blog.tpd.com.

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