What to Do When You Lose a Key Member of Staff (Including Yourself)
If you have employees or contractors that work with you in your business, there will come a time that either someone leaves willingly, or someone leaves unwillingly. People find other opportunities and sadly people get sick, or you must let them go. Thats how life is.
Your business is no different. In fact, you may find someday that you can no longer perform the duties youve always done, for a variety of reasons, and youll have to find a way around it. Luckily, if you plan well you can avoid a disaster from happening and keep work going regardless.
Wish the Person Well
If you lose a key member of your staff because theyre moving on to new opportunities, thank them and wish them well. Hopefully, youve been given a chance to find a replacement with a two-week notice. Use that time to conduct an exit interview so that you can make the position better for the next person.
Tell Those Affected by the Change
If this change affects anyone, from other staff to customers, its imperative that you announce the results quickly instead of taking your time. The sooner people know, the less likely they are to be worried. You can also mitigate concerns by being open and transparent.
Get Recommendations for a Replacement
Sometimes the person leaving knows other people who may want the position, so ask them. If thats not the case, when you announce that the staff member is leaving, mention the job opening and the unusual opportunity right away.
Study What Went Wrong
If someone leaves due to stress or another issue, you may want to figure out what went wrong so that you can make your place of business more attractive to workers who will stay long term.
Communicate the Departure or Issue ASAP
If you are the one who has to leave for some reason (even though its your own business), if you can recommend someone to replace you to your customers, theyll be very appreciative. If someone else is going to do the work in your place through your business like nothing happened, let them know that too.
Dont Place All Your Eggs in One Basket
You can prevent problems with losing staff if you have redundancies in place. It depends on how you run your business but if you have an office, train someone to take over for that other person when theyre sick or out of the office. That person can then be put in that position temporarily until you find someone, or they can be promoted. If you hire contractors, consider hiring more than one for each project and have each do only a small portion that can easily be handed off to someone else should they leave.
Document the Work Steps
If you do a lot of work for your business outside of management and planning, consider documenting all that you do so that it can be easily given to someone else to do. That way, when youre ready to leave or if you get sick, you can hand off work to due to the step-by-step directions.
Set Up Redundancies
One way to deal with losing staff is not to hire one person for each project. For example, if youre an author who retains editors, employ more than one – for example, one editor works part-time while another works full time. That way, the part-time person already knows what to do and can be called on if you have more work for them to do.
Systemize and Automate
The more things that can be finished using technology, the better for the stability of your business. Try to systemize and automate everything that you can instead of hiring staff to do it. That way you wont be dealing with this issue for everything.
Hopefully, if you act on these suggestions, you wont be caught off guard by someone leaving unexpectedly or lose your business if you must be away from it for a while. In most cases, you can keep on going without a glitch if you plan for contingencies while things are going well.