Three Responses When A Great Employee Chooses To Leave Your Team
As a manager, dealing with good employees leaving your team is difficult. When it happens, you are met with a flood of emotions. If they have been a great employee, you are saddened to no longer have them working for you. You might be angry because their departure has left you in a difficult situation. You might even feel hopeless, knowing that it might be impossible to find someone that is as capable as the employee who just left.
When a good team member does decide to leave, how should you as the manager respond? An emotional response is often the wrong response. In fact, the best way to respond is often counterintuitive to how you are feeling.
Here are three responses I think good managers should use when a good employee chooses to leave their team.
Learn by reflecting on what you could have done differently.
When your team member notifies you of their intention to leave, it is often already too late to figure out how to fix things. You have already lost your chance to make things better for that employee. Talk to them and see what has caused them to seek out another opportunity. If it is a better opportunity that is one thing but if it is an environmental factor that you could have influenced, it’s better to know about it so you can make improvements. It probably won’t make a difference for your employee seeking to leave but you can use that information to grow in your management abilities and make improvements for your other employees.
Realize that sometimes leaving is the right move for their career development.
Think about your own career for a second. What types of offers might you be willing to entertain to leave your current position? What position changes did you make along the way that got you to where you are today? Well, if you were honest with yourself, sometimes opportunities come along for your employees which are better than their current position on your team. As their manager, your goal should be to help them reach their career aspirations and in order to do that, if they need to leave your team, you should support them in their decision to move on. That does not mean it is easy but if you truly care about your employees, their advancement should be one of your major goals.
Work with your departing employee to make the transition easy for them.
It is hard not to take their leaving personally but retaliating in some shape or form is the wrong move. Not only will the employee leaving feel the brunt of your anger but your other employees with no doubt see your reaction. Work with your employee to make the transition away from your team as smooth as possible. Responding in this way will allow you to accomplish several different things. First, you will not burn any bridges with the departing employee, leaving the door open if they decide they would like to return. Second, your other employees will see that you actually care about your team as people and not just their results. Third, HR and recruiting professionals will be able to say good thinks about how you treat your employees to potential new hires.