How to Properly Prepare for any Co-worker’s Departure
It can be a stressful time for a business after receiving an employee’s two-week notice, particularly if the departure is unexpected and the employee has duties that only they are trained in.
The success of a company is never determined by one person alone, but if proper procedures are not in place from the beginning, then a business can greatly suffer when an employee is lost. An employee leaving, especially one in an integral role or someone who was close with other employees of the company can have a strong effect on a workplace, both on function and morale.
Sometimes it is for the best when one leaves. There really is such a thing as a fifth wheel when it comes to smooth operations at a company. Sometimes schedules are derailed by one person’s absence and by a problem employee leaving, it opens the door for a better-suited candidate to take the role.
Prevention is better than cure. Consider all of your staff and which of their roles would have the biggest impact if they were to leave unexpectedly. Take steps to both ensure those people are happy in their position and that their work could be covered by others in their prolonged absence.
For example, you may have an in-house website developer who codes all of your websites. Does anyone else know how to understand the code that has been written were they to quit?
In another case, your sales team members may have personal contacts with customers. If any of them were to leave unexpectedly, would the other members of the sales team have access to the list of contacts and be able to take over seamlessly with minimal disruption?
Taking a step back from the day-to-day running of the business and looking for these potential problem areas not only helps you minimize the disruption an employee leaving could have, but it also helps you identify areas where your business would struggle to scale up. If you’re relying on one person for any task, find ways to spread the workload and make no-one indispensable.
The Adjustment Period
The adjustment period is perhaps the most dreaded aspect of losing an employee for any reason as it entails a host of laborious steps that are sure to add to your workload. Trustworthy employees can be hard to find and training up new staff is expensive and time-consuming.
One of the biggest tips for a smooth transition, when an employee leaves, is to have a written process detailing the exact procedure ready to go. This will help guide you in which steps to take.
Having a plan in place is key. Workers should not be negatively impacted by one team member leaving and any extra duties should be evenly doled out so that there is little to no impact on the day-to-day operations of the business after the employee has left. This is going to be a big factor in keeping overall morale high. No-one likes having to stay late and be blindsided by an extra workload because the total number of employees has suddenly been reduced.
If the employee’s departure is not voluntary, it can be awkward and even intimidating to be the one who bears the bad news. The best way to let an employee go is to first make the necessary arrangements as far as scheduling goes and be sure to inform the employee first.
It cannot be understated the importance of having a one-on-one conversation with the employee who is being let go. They should be the first to find out since it impacts them the most. Be sure to curtail any workplace gossip or hostility.
As soon as you have properly informed them of the change, it is time to start informing other members of the department so that no one is blindsided by the news. Everyone should be distributed a slightly higher task load until a new arrival is scheduled to take their place.
Dealing with the Employee Who Is Leaving
Employer/employee relationships can end on good or bad terms. Ideally, it is best to remain in contact and be on friendly terms with anyone who leaves the company, regardless of why they are leaving.
Know that there could be hard feelings in some causes and attempt to be a mediator between the employee and the employer. Be particularly wary during the notice period, as an employee who is leaving can be disruptive.
A personal favorite is to give a parting gift such as flowers or chocolates. It is valuable to have a worker that admires you that you can call upon in the future. Avoid burning bridges. After all, just because a person is leaving doesn’t mean the professional relationships you’ve developed must end too, and it pays to be able to discuss some of the duties the employee performed with them cordially after they have left.
Stay in contact with the employee leaving and let them know you are willing to speak with future employees to help them find their next job. An employee who does a good job with their industry can be recommended by the previous workplace, which goes a long way in today’s job market.