Losing a star employee is one of the most challenging things employers have to face. Top performers are typically among the most engaged in a company and when they make an unforeseen departure, this makes their leaving even more difficult to swallow. While no company is immune, (particularly in today’s competitive market), there are ways to ensure you’re better equipped to handle the situation when it does. Read on for best practices on how to recover from the loss of a top employee.
Think before extending a counter-offer.
Assuming there is still time to counter, your initial thought might be to do so in hopes of retaining a top performer. However, you have to consider the long-term implications of this. It’s possible that compensation may be the main driver behind their departure, but your star employees will likely have addressed this concern prior to making a decision to leave. Whether they have or not, this leaves both parties in an awkward spot. Your employee will be left wondering why it had to come to this point for them to get a raise, and you will feel that it took a form of blackmail in order to keep them on-board.
Make sure their departure is as positive as possible.
While emotions are still likely running high, it’s important that you treat your employee’s departure as professionally as possible. Conducting exit interviews that allow them to speak to any frustrations should be a regular practice. Even if their reasons for leaving have no bearing on their experience at your organization, they’ll appreciate the opportunity to be heard. In turn, they’re much more likely to leave with a positive view of their time spent with you and will be more likely to recommend future candidates to your organization. In fact, employees that leave with a positive experience are 2.9 x more likely to recommend their former employer to their network.
Take your time in finding a replacement.
Losing a top performer is a tough blow, so it’s important to take a step back and not act on emotion. It may be your first instinct to try and find a replacement as soon as possible, especially if you’re going to be hiring from outside of your organization. This could be an excellent opportunity to hire an executive placement firm. Let them know what your former employee did well, and possibly where they fell short. They can often be an invaluable resource in finding your next big star, and you can continue to focus on business as usual.
Show a little extra appreciation for your current employees.
When any employee leaves, it can start a chain reaction. Present employees wonder what caused the departure and may reassess their own place internally. When a top performer leaves, however, this is doubly concerning. This can cause worries around lack of stability or merely open people’s eyes to greener pastures. While the feeling will likely be fleeting, it’s important to re-address why each individual employee is valuable.
So how do you go about that? It could be something as simple as having conversations with individuals about their career paths within your company. Another option that’s mutually beneficial is to identify opportunities for development. If employees have expressed an interest in training in a specific area or skill and you have the resources, invest time in doing just that. The bottom line is that your people want to feel that their work is valued and that there is room for growth and learning within your organization.