What to do When Your Top Employee Quits

Every business has certain employees that rise to the top. Whether it’s the natural ability to close deals when it matters, the work ethic to see a project through to completion, or the skills to lead a team effectively, top employees are generally easy to spot – and indispensable to your staff. However, because these skills are valuable in the marketplace, it’s only sensical to assume that other firms would be interested in them as well. It could be the result of a headhunting offer from a competitor, a discord with your workplace culture, or even personal reasons; but once in a while, your top employee will say goodbye.

This sort of shake-up can cause noticeable stress and even panic among your team, especially if the departure is sudden or the individual is particularly useful to your daily operations. Nevertheless, your business must proceed forward and continue to thrive – and it certainly can. Here are some key tips for adapting when your top employee quits.

Address the Immediate Need

Before you let your team resort to panic about the vacated responsibility from your departed colleague, swiftly identify the key areas in which they contributed. Immediately delegate their client coverage, if any, to other members of your team, and make a list of the key tasks this person performed on a daily basis. Conduct a meeting with the members of this individual’s direct team to divide up the tasks in a way that allows your business to continue to function at a productive level without over-burdening one or two teammates in particular. Place an emphasis on sharing the increased load. This step is critical – resisting the urge to jump right into hiring, and instead ensuring that your business will continue to move forward with the resources you do have will encourage your team and stave off panicked thoughts. It may also show you that you can actually survive without considering an additional hire.

Explore Your Existing Team

Hand in hand with the delegation process is the potential promotion process. If your top employee left a gaping hole in your reporting structure that you are strongly considering filling, take a moment to consider your existing team. Draw out scenarios with visible diagrams (privately, of course) in which various members of the team assume the departed employee’s role. Visualize how that newly promoted person’s role would change, and who would pick up their former responsibilities. While your top employee leaving may have caused a considerable bump in the road, it may have presented an opportunity for efficient reorganization you might not have had otherwise. Take the time to evaluate the members of the departed worker’s team for skillset and promotional potential, and consider the option of reorganizing your reporting structure.

Chart a Course Towards Hiring

If it becomes clear after delegating and readjusting that you will, in fact, need to hire an additional teammate to address the vacancy, make a clear plan before diving in. Address some key questions, including:

  • What will this individual’s title be?
  • What are the key skills and attributes you are looking for in a hire?
  • Would the compensation package for this individual remain the same?
  • Would an internal hire be more beneficial, or cause more issues?
  • When is the ideal time for the role to be filled?

Once you’ve painted a clear picture of the individual you are seeking, it will make the hiring process more streamlined and lead to better results for your firm.

Consult a Hiring Professional

When it comes to hiring in the IT space, a dedicated firm with years of experience in the field can save you hundreds of hours and get your business back on track more quickly. At IT/IQ, we serve our clients by connecting top talent with the right firms. With locations in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto we will help you streamline your hiring process from idea generation all the way to final offer – for both in-person to remote needs. Visit us at it-iq.com to learn more and connect with us.