What to do when your best employee quits


Now that we’re roughly a 12 months and a half into the pandemic, employees appear to be looking for one thing new. And that “one thing new” is commonly a brand new job. A February 2021 report by Achievers Workforce Institute discovered that more than half (52%) of employees in the U.S. and Canada plan to look for a new job in 2021. That’s 35% increased than in 2020 (though, at the moment, many individuals have been simply nervous about retaining their jobs within the early months of COVID-19). The bump in job-changers has been dubbed the “Nice Resignation” by some. However what do you do when a type of job-changers is a extremely valued employee of your personal?

When your right-hand individual or a rising rock star in your enterprise tells you they’re about to depart, it may be an emotional expertise, says Wealthy Reineke, co-managing associate of enterprise consulting agency Fahrenheit Advisors. “It may be very emotional, initially. Typically you’re offended. Typically you’re scared,” he says. However what you do subsequent can have critical repercussions for your enterprise. Right here’s a seven-step plan.

Take a breath

When Larissa Salvador, proprietor of Salvador Regulation, PA, an immigration legislation agency, discovered her trusted paralegal was leaving to work at a home violence shelter, she was heartbroken. “I totally relied on her. … We made a number of selections collectively, about even the best way that I run my agency,” Salvador says. However she shortly realized that her employee was shifting on to a chance that might be extra fulfilling, so she was ready to put the transfer in perspective, she says.

It’s normally not a good suggestion to react for the time being, Reineke says. As a substitute, set a time later to focus on the choice. The very first thing it’s best to do after you get the information is to digest it and mirror on it, he says. “Don’t attempt to conquer every part after that preliminary dialogue. Arrange a follow-up as a result of it offers you a while since you simply acquired rocked on your heels, presumably,” he says. The extra you depend on the individual, the extra upset and nervous you might be. You want a while to clear your head, he says.

Take into consideration triage

As you take into account the following steps, take into consideration essentially the most quick wants created by the departure. Begin creating a listing of the questions you’ll want to be answered and the essential duties that may want to be assigned. “‘What are the belongings you’re engaged on? What are the essential issues that we’d like to be ready to choose up? And who’re the essential gamers you’re engaged with? What shoppers are you touching? And the way do we put a plan collectively to seize all of this in a really quick time frame?’” Reineke says.

Ask why

Whenever you meet with your employee, whether or not it’s to focus on the choice or for an exit interview, ask for trustworthy suggestions about why they’re leaving, says Paul French, managing director of government search agency Intrinsic Search. Use the chance to discover out if there are issues you may enhance about your firm tradition or in the event you can repair the explanations the person determined to depart.

Most of all, don’t take it personally, French says. “Remember the fact that they don’t seem to be obligated to let you know why they’re leaving and the place they’re going. Keep away from urgent them for solutions or guilt-tripping them, as this can unnecessarily bitter your relationship and depart no house for reconciliation,” he says.

Take into account a counteroffer

Counteroffers could also be tempting, however they’re not at all times a good suggestion, says Brenda Neckvatal, referred to as “the HR Woman,” and host of the podcast Best Practices in Human Assets. It’s simple to overestimate how a lot you want the person and wish to begin bargaining for them to keep. Earlier than you do, strive to perceive why they’re leaving, she says. “What is it about it the state of affairs, it could possibly be one thing that’s of their management, could possibly be one thing that’s out of their management,” she says.


Your employee could also be leaving for private causes, like a partner getting one other job in a distinct state, or due to a problem you may repair. If it’s the latter, strive to focus on what will be executed. However, usually, Neckvatal says, by the point the individual has come to you to give discover, their thoughts is made up. It could be onerous to persuade them to keep.

Inform your workforce

“In case you don’t come to an settlement, take the following step and inform your workforce instantly—don’t watch for phrase to unfold through the grapevine,” French says. Getting the phrase out your self permits you to reassure workforce members. Invite them to apply for the emptiness or suggest others to do so.

Search for the chance

As you consider changing the person, take into consideration what your firm really wants subsequent. Maybe there’s now a chance to rent somebody who has the abilities crucial to enable you develop your firm, Reinke says. Salvador is an efficient instance: She continues to be engaged on changing her “right-hand,” however has reassigned duties to different workforce members and is taking her time to search for the best alternative.

Keep in contact

With a number of exceptions, Reineke says it’s a good suggestion to half on good phrases and depart the door open for the longer term. “You need to at all times be persevering with the dialog with individuals. You create this alumni community,” he says. “Proceed the dialogue with people who’ve been on your workforce, and perhaps they arrive again as a result of their careers change, their aspirations have modified, and now you’re the best match once more,” he says.

French takes issues one step additional: Present the workforce that the individual continues to be priceless and you might be dedicated to treating them humanely. “Take into account throwing a cheerful hour, potluck dinner, or social gathering for the leaving employee—rejoice their contributions and their future journey,” he says. This fashion, you’ve left the door open for them to return—with new abilities and extra expertise.