Most of us spend as much time with our work families as we do with our real ones—in some cases even more. As such, it’s always sad to see a colleague leave. It’s doubly hard when you’re the business owner, and the employee who quits happens to be one of your best.
Of course, as much as you should try to retain your employees, it’s only a matter of time before one of them hands you their notice. The question is, what can you do about it?
Maintain Perspective
The first thing to remember is that an employee’s departure is not necessarily a referendum on your leadership style. In fact, it’s probably not about you at all. It likely has more to do with the employee’s professional ambitions or family needs. Maybe it’s as simple as this: He or she found a better offer elsewhere.
In other words: Don’t spiral, and don’t take it personally. Don’t assume that your employee quit because you’re a bad leader. Again, it likely has nothing to do with you.
Consider Their Notice
Hopefully, your employee will give you the customary two weeks’ notice. While it is your right to turn this down and dismiss them right away, this usually isn’t a wise approach. You’ll need some time to find and train a replacement, so let them work their two weeks.
As you do so, though, make sure you hold them accountable. For as long as they are your employee, they need to be engaged in their work—not mentally “checked out.” Make it clear which projects and service calls you need them to complete before they head off.
Talk it Over with Your Team
You don’t necessarily need to hold a press conference, but do assemble your employees to let them know what has happened. Maintain professionalism: Make it clear that you wish your departing employee the best.
Also reassure your employees that you’ve got things under control, and will have a new replacement hired as soon as possible. As best you can, be ready to answer any questions about how the departing employee’s workload will be divvied up in the meantime.
Consider A Counter-Offer
What happens if your employee says he or she is leaving due to a better offer, and that money is their sole motivator?
If the employee is worth it to you, you can offer to meet their promised salary. If they say no, though, it’s probably best to just let them move on. Frankly, not many employees are going to be worth getting into a bidding war with one of your competitors.
Do an Exit Interview
Make this employee departure a learning experience. Ask if you can pick their brain about the things they liked and didn’t like about working for the company. You might pick up some good insights that can help you prevent further departures, or build a stronger team.
Remember: Employees quit sometimes, for reasons that have nothing to do with you. You still need to handle these exits gracefully. For more guidance on building a strong professional team, reach out to Contractor in Charge today.