A lot of work goes into hiring quality employees. So whenever a company finds itself in the position of getting ready to lose a key employee, it can create a significant amount of stress throughout the organization. Although there are measures that can be taken to increase retention and minimize the number of key employees who leave, there are always going to be valuable members of a team that have to step away for one reason or another. That's why the best thing a company can do is have a standardized process for dealing with this change.
By knowing how to respond to an important employee leaving, a company can make this transition as seamless as possible and keep everything moving in the optimal direction. In terms of exactly what should be done, here are three important steps to take:
The biggest mistake any organization or leader can make is waiting until an employee says they're going to leave to start thinking about how to take action. By having a plan in place ahead of time, all necessary actions can be taken right away to minimize disruption. Having a plan starts with a thorough job description.
Knowing exactly what a specific role does and the traits an employee needs to have will make the search for a replacement much easier. Succession planning is something that can take this one step further. Even though it may not be necessary for every role, having a pipeline of potential hires for the most important roles can prevent a company from being blindsided and left without a critical member of the team.
Plenty of companies get stuck in the mindset of viewing this type of change as a death of sorts. But just because a change can bring some challenges with it doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Instead, companies should view this transition as an opportunity. Since these types of events are inevitable for any company that's growing quickly, use the new hire to bring in the existing skills that are needed, as well as create a path for new traits to be brought into the company.
While this advice is commonly given to employees, it applies just as much to companies. Some degree of disappointment or similar emotions is normal. However, that doesn't mean a company should treat an employee poorly on their way out. Talented people are in demand and have lots of opportunities, which is why someone in that position shouldn't be punished. By instead handling this change with respect, a company can create a potential recruiting partner or even keep the door open to the opportunity of that individual returning one day with even greater skills.
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