Someone Quit: Now What? Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide

Picture this: One of your best employees just quit. Not only are you losing an important part of the team, but now you have the rest of the team to worry about. Morale, productivity, collaboration – everything’s affected by someone leaving. 

Here’s what you should do to minimize the damage:

1. Schedule an exit interview

No employee should leave without an exit interview. Many leaders mistakenly believe these interviews should only happen in big companies – but it’s critical to schedule one.

While the questions will change depending on the situation, use these as a starting point, says

  • Why are you leaving?
  • How could we have improved this situation before you decided to leave?
  • Did we give you the tools and training you needed to complete your job to the best of your abilities?
  • How would you describe the company culture in your department and companywide?
  • If you were CEO, what three things would you change here?

Take notes and stay open-minded. Even if you aren’t able to do anything with the person’s answers, at the very least, you’ll get a real-life look into the inner workings of the company – things you, as a leader, might not get the chance to see.

2. Create a clear plan

Before you deliver the news – and before the rumors start swirling – give yourself a minute to think. Who will be taking over what roles? If you announce someone is leaving without any kind of direction or plan, people panic. Morale dips, productivity decreases and nervousness increases.

As soon as you have a solid plan, tell everyone at the same time. If you don’t make an appropriate announcement to the whole team at the same time, you’re asking for chaos. Rumors will fly – and no one likes being the last person to find out big news.

3. Offer support

Whether you’ve got an office full of Millennials, seasoned employees or both, you’re going to have a few people overwhelmed by someone leaving. The best thing you can do is remind them that you’re there to help, whether it’s through training or working one-on-one together.

Set aside time to work with your team to prepare them for their new duties. While this may take away from your to-dos, it’ll help you in the long run. You’ll save money, time and potentially more employees leaving by showing them you’re there for the good, the bad and the ugly.

And as always, try to keep a positive environment. Sometimes, all your employees need to hear is that the world will keep spinning even after this person leaves, no matter how high on the org chart. Get them ready for the change, shut down office gossip and help out when you can to be the best leader a team could ask for.