Your Top Employee Resigned. Now What?


When any employee chooses to leave your organization, it can create a difficult transition. However, when one of your top employees resigns, they can sometimes feel irreplaceable. Amid trends like the Great Resignation, it may be common for employers to experience some of their best employees finding new opportunities.

When a top performer resigns, not only are they taking their own unique skill set with them, but they’re also taking a vast amount of knowledge about the inner workings of your organization, your department, and specific processes. So, how do you begin to find a replacement that can fill this type of gap? Start with these steps:

Develop a hiring plan

First, it’s important to start this transition by notifying your Human Resources department and initiating the hiring process. When you connect with your HR department, you can determine next steps for how you envision working together on sourcing and interviewing candidates.

Additionally, you’ll want to utilize your departing employee to develop a thorough job description for your open position. While you may not be involved in the day to day of this role, your employee should be able to fill in gaps and identify the most critical skills needed to be successful in this job.

Read Also: 6 Tips For Improving Your Vetting Process

Depending on your needs and hiring capabilities, you may want to consider a recruitment firm who can speed up your search by sourcing and screening their pool of candidates. They can also use their industry expertise to understand how to find the right match for your needs.

Work on a transition plan

Whether you only have two weeks left with your employee or you have a bit longer, it’s critical to use your time left as wisely as possible. To start, be sure that any projects that are in progress are completed or transitioned to other team members.

Next, you’ll want to ensure that your employee’s vast knowledge is transferred in some way. This can be done in a few different ways, including:

    • Written, step-by-step instructions for processes
    • Video tutorials with screen sharing
    • Training other team members to take on new duties

Read Also: Succession Planning: A Key Strategy For Employee Development

Communicate with staff

This transition will affect your entire department, so consistent communication is key when you share this information with the rest of your team. Be sure to inform them early on, so it isn’t a surprise to them when this occurs. Tell them your hiring plan and what they can expect during this time. Whether that’s a shift in responsibilities or increase in work, they must also plan ahead.

Additionally, now is the time to evaluate your team’s responsibilities and present new opportunities to other team members. You may have another employee eager to learn some of these skills and ready to step up.

Conduct an exit interview

When any employee leaves your organization, it’s important to understand why they made that decision. And when it’s a top performer, it is even more critical to conduct an exit interview and understand what happened. Keep in mind, a key part of this transition is improving your retention for the future. While it may be uncomfortable, be sure that you take the proper steps to make this happen.

Stay connected

Once you’ve wrapped up the formal processes, be sure that you don’t lose touch with this employee. After all, you never know what could happen in the future. There may always be another opportunity to work together. Before they leave, thank them for their work and ensure they know how much they are valued.

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