Sometimes It’s Best to Let Go

One of the more frustrating parts of running a company, especially a small business, is when employees unexpectedly tell you that they’re leaving for a different job. This can come as a surprise, and understandably, your natural reaction may be to try to convince that employee to reconsider. However, that’s not necessarily the best course of action.  So, here are a few ways to positively handle this situation.

1. Talk it out

Regardless of whether or not the employee leaves for the new job, you should have an in-depth conversation with them about what led to this decision. Why do they feel the new job is a better opportunity? How have they been feeling about their role at your company lately? This conversation may naturally lead to new details being revealed that you can use to strengthen your company and ensure that someone else doesn’t leave because of them next time.

2. Weigh your options

Potentially losing a strong employee is never a desirable situation, but depending on who the employee is, the scenarios on how you proceed differ. If the employee is leaving due to financial reasons and you can meet the employee’s new offer, you may wish to counter offer. Be cautioned; however, that money is rarely the reason employees leave (even if that is the sole reason given). And, while we will probably see increased use of counter offers as the market continues to heat up, they are generally not effective, with most employees leaving within six months to a year. The reasons leading the person to seek new employment will likely pop up again. Whether it’s lack of advancement opportunity, growth and learning, work-life balance or other cultural issues, a raise will only push these feelings under the carpet for a short period of time.

Further, there may be other concerns. Morale may be impacted with other employees viewing the countered employee as a favorite. Or, if employees in the same or similar roles get wind that employee is receiving a higher salary. Finally, if other employees find out you made a counter offer – and they probably will – they may be tempted to commence a job search in hopes of receiving their own counter offer.

3. Use the opportunity to connect with your other employees

Someone leaving the company doesn’t just affect you — the dynamics of the office, and the company overall, will inevitably change. So, if you do lose an employee, take the time to reach out to the rest of your team about their thoughts and feelings regarding their roles, as well as the company’s direction. Make it known that you care about everyone (which you should already be doing.)

No matter how attentive or effective of a boss you are, turnover happens. It’s vital to not get overwhelmed by change, and instead use the moment to build on what you have and make positive changes as a result of the feedback you have been given.

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