Losing a valuable employee is hard. They were your star and now they want to go. So what do you do? Think about what has happened. Why is the employee leaving? Does it have anything to do with the company or the management or both? When someone important to the company leaves you want to understand if the reasons are something that can affect fellow workers, like bullying, salary issues, personal issues, stress or the like. Whatever the reasons, accept them gracefully and show your support, then manage the transition with the rest of your staff.
When someone well respected leaves others in the team begin to wonder if they need to be looking for greener pastures. They wonder if there is something wrong with the company. A resignation triggers reactions that some get over quickly while others don’t. Whatever the reasons it is a disruption that can adversely affect other team members and day to day operations.
So what to do.
Consider a counter-offer though a top performer has probably weighed the pros and cons prior to resigning. If it costs less to offer more than a counter offer is a consideration but it is not a strategy to use lightly. It can be a dangerous strategy if it becomes known that it works. The best policy is to identify and prevent problems before valuable employees resign. Resignations should not come as a surprise if management is listening. Also, it is best to ensure that senior employees are mentoring other employees so the company will not be crippled by retirement or resignation.
Stay on top of the loss by showing respect to the departing employee by acknowledging the loss to the company and thanking them for their outstanding efforts and do this with the entire team present. After they depart help your team make the transition to working without their former colleague.
Manage the transition by telling other employees what they’ll be doing now that their teammate is going and allow the departing employee to work with the team before departing so everyone is aware of what tasks may need to be covered. Ask for volunteers to cover tasks so that the transition goes smoothly.
Whatever you do, do it with grace. Show your team that they have nothing to worry about and that there may be opportunities for developing new strategies and ways of doing things that will become apparent as you organize around the talents of the new team.