How To Avoid A Disaster When A Key Employee Resigns Unexpectedly

Submitted by Mark on 09th March 2017

Resignation, employee engagement, key employee, avoid HR disaster, continuity plan

Things are ticking along nicely in your business; employees are engaged, productive, and smashing their targets. Sales are growing and you’re feeling pretty pleased with how you’ve grown and nurtured such a great team. 

But suddenly, there’s a spanner in the works and unexpectedly a key member of staff tells you that they’re moving to pastures new. In a large organisation often this has limited impact, however, in a small business, it can be a serious blow and severely threaten the bottom line if it’s not managed effectively. 

So what practical steps can you take … 

Establish exactly when they’ll leave 

Hopefully your employee will have a contract of employment detailing the required notice period, but things don’t always go according to plan!  Don’t make any assumptions, speak to them and agree the precise date they will leave. This way, you can sort out any handover arrangements and plan your next steps to minimise the impact on your business. 

Carry out an exit interview 

An exit interview will allow you to get some valuable feedback about why your member of staff decided to leave. You can’t retain everyone you recruit, but it makes sense to keep an eye on the reasons why people decide to move on. 

Remember that because you’re the boss, you’re not always going to get the full picture. It might be worth outsourcing this part of the process, so you can be sure that you’re getting more reliable and meaningful information.

Craft your continuity plan 

At this point it would be no help whatsoever for us to mention that you should have already planned for these kinds of circumstances; you already know this!  However, there’s work to be done and you need to establish how you’ll make sure that productivity remains high, and that your business doesn’t suffer. 

Part of this is likely to involve looking for a new member of staff, but in the short term consider how you can bridge any gaps by utilising your existing workforce, without making unreasonable demands. It may not be ideal, but there’s often a silver lining. You could be giving an ambitious employee an opportunity to step up and broaden their experience. 

Don’t forget to thank your employee for their contribution 

We know that you don’t need reminding of this, but when you’re worried about the future it’s easy to overlook the obvious things. Your member of staff could go on to refer business your way, or they may even become a customer or a client in the future. 

And you don’t want to face the fallout that could come with your employee ending their time with you on a sour note.  A little bit of consideration can go a long way. 

If you’re currently dealing with the potential nightmare of having a key member of staff hand in their notice, or you’re worried that they might do in the not too distant future, then please get in touch by completing the Contact Form or calling us on 01604 763494 to arrange your no-obligation discussion.