Employee retentionWhen success brings about headhunters who are eager to poach your top employees, how do you handle that transition?

The knee jerk reaction could be to “go emotional” on them. Throw them out immediately, remove any semblance of their work or association with your company, begin to spread vicious rumors online of why they left so it taints their future, bad habits, unflattering photos and….I’m sorry that escalated quickly

The other option is understand as a manager that everyone has a journey. We all have journeys ourselves. Right now, as this person is telling you they are moving on, you remember that you sat in that seat before when you transitioned jobs yourself. Very few of us stayed in the same job or company from the beginning of our journey. Many of us will do not think that our leaving, even an entry-level job, had repercussions for those left behind. We always focus on our own journey.

As a manager or owner you have to sit back, take a breath and realize they may not just be leaving for more money but instead the new job may be able to offer them a different path than you can. I do not want to make the situation sound all so Zen as if to simulate that an employee leaving does not cause any disturbance, but you as a leader have to look at this as an opportunity to change things internally. Look to others to move along their path and maybe, just maybe, it works out well for both parties.

How to Deal With Employee Transition

#1 Find out the timetable for leaving.

This is important. You would like to get as much time as possible to work out an easy transition. Do not think any job is easy to replace quickly.

#2 Document duties the employee was responsible for.

Even as a manager or leader in the company, you may not really know all the minute tasks that this employee was responsible for. Have them document everything that they did so you can assign to a new employee.

#3  Get this employee’s feedback on who should get duties.

This may seem odd but this employee interacted with the team more than you have day to day. Getting their feedback on who could handle some of these tasks provides you with a starting point for assigning new roles. It also may bring to your attention some of your other employee’s skills sets you may have overlooked.

#4  Bring in all affected parties to work out transition.

Once you have an idea of who will be handling the duties, bring them all in together so that there is agreement on taking over tasks. Remember you want buy in from your team, not just a reassignment without taking into consideration how this affects their workflow. You may have to reassign some of the employee’s current tasks to allow for them to take on new duties.

#5  Alert the rest of the company to the new plan.

While your employees will hear quickly through the grapevine about an employee leaving, you should still formally address the company about the transition and have a set plan to present to the entire team. This takes any uncertainty out of question and allows the remaining team to feel reassured that this exit would not impact them adversely. It shows continuation of purpose.

#6  Monitor transition and exit.

One hopes for the best but once someone is thinking about their new job, it is human nature to begin to let go of current duties. Most people do want to exit the right way, so it is important that you monitor the transition to put your company in the best position when this employee eventually does finish up.

Lastly, shake hands and wish this person well. You never know how your paths may cross in the future. They may end up exceeding even your vision of what they could do and there may be a working partnership of companies in the future.

Most transitions, if done correctly, work out for both parties. New people step up and surprise you and past employees look to you for guidance in the future because you treated them with respect.

I have had the pleasure of staying in touch with many people who worked under me and it is most rewarding to get notes letting me know of the impact I had on them, or that they continue to use things I taught them to better themselves and their new companies.

If you have managed your company correctly and your employees are akin to your children, then you should always be proud of their future accomplishments and not be bitter that they have left the nest.

Oh what the heck…maybe one little rumor!!!

Glenn Pasch is the current CEO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a writer, National Speaker  and Management Trainer