Managing The Departure Of Key Employees - September 18, 2017

She's your star employee. She is proactive in researching competitors and prospects. She brings new ideas to the table. She's responsible for a significant percentage of the company's annual revenue and—she just turned in her two-week notice. You can't blame your star employee. In fact, she's moving to be closer to family, which you wholeheartedly support. But when the gap in her absence will be felt by your business, what do you do?

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these three tips from entrepreneur Peter Gasca on how to manage through the departure of your key employees.

1. Plan ahead of time. First, Gasca points out that every business should have a plan for the departure of employees, whether they are in critical roles or not. He recommends beginning by having a clear and thorough job description for each position in your organization. You should also have regularly updated documentation on job responsibilities and tasks. Also, document the key customers and vendors within whom the employee interacts. That way, if the employee leaves, there's not a mad scramble to get this information as they are walking out the door.

As part of your planning, also document the process for key employees. Gasca says that planning ahead of time for the inevitable challenge of a departing employee not only makes the process easier, it allows the departing employee to leave quickly and avoids the potential of creating an atmosphere that could ultimately hurt motivation and productivity for the team that remains.

2. Embrace change. Entrepreneurs need to adopt the expectation that it is not a matter of "if" but "when" a key employee will leave. Instead of feeling defeated by the departure, use it as an opportunity to embrace change. Maybe your company can now request bids from other vendors now that the employee is gone. Or maybe it leaves room for other ideas that drive further innovation in your organization. Change can be good, even if it's unexpected. Fred Wilson, a successful venture capitalist and founder of Union Square Ventures, says, "Every departure is an opportunity to rethink the role and the organization. You can't find an exact replica of the person who has left. But you can find a person who will bring different things."

3. Never burn a bridge. It is natural to feel disappointed, upset and even betrayed when an employee leaves, especially if you have put effort into training, nurturing and trusting that employee. Instead of allowing the employee to leave on a sour note, embrace their new opportunity and support the move. Look at it as an opportunity to send out a brand ambassador for your company.

Employees leave for any number of reasons—seeking further growth, more pay or even more personal happiness. Don't face their departure with fear or dread; use this to create positive opportunities for your organization.

Source: Peter Gasca is an entrepreneur, consultant and author. He is an advisor at Startup.SC, a tech-based business incubator focused on scalable startups, and founder of Naked Cask, an innovative startup in the craft beer industry. Gasca is also an executive in residence and director of the Community and Business Engagement Institute at Coastal Carolina University. His book, One Million Frogs, details his entrepreneurial journey with Wild Creations, a specialty toy and game developer and

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