In a competitive job market losing employees to another company is an inevitable part of being in business. But once you’ve had a moment to process the information on receipt of that resignation notice, you need to start putting some proactive steps in place to make the transition as smooth as possible. Rather than focusing all your efforts on trying to fight off the inevitable, a better option is to prepare for the employee’s departure and to find a suitable replacement to minimise any negative impact and downtime.
One of the worst things an employer can do is keep news quiet about an employee leaving, particularly if the leaving employee works as part of a team. This is especially important if the leaving team member has numerous responsibilities that will need to be delegated to other employees while you try fill the position. Communication is key in this scenario, as you need to ensure everyone is on the same page to minimise the impact of an employee leaving.
Once you know an employee is leaving, your focus should shift to ensuring a smooth handover of responsibilities. Even if you don’t have a new hire waiting in the wings to take over, you should aim to have the leaving employee brief team members about what their role is in the company, what their responsibilities are, and what needs to be done in their absence.
Find out exactly why the employee is leaving. This information could potentially help you retain them by addressing their issues, or give you insights as to how you can better retain talent. Exit interviews are a great way to get context for an employee’s departure and can help you plan ahead to prevent the situation from happening too often.
Exit interviews are commonly performed in person with the departing employee, either by the employee’s manager, or a member of HR. Exit interview questions are key to obtaining actionable information and the exiting employee should feel at ease to answer as freely and honestly as possible. Explain that you will use the information provided during the exit interview to help the organisation improve and retain valued employees. Freely explore each response further for clarification and complete understanding.