For the second time this month, one of your most talented employees paid a visit to your office to give notice and share her plans to accept a position elsewhere. In the aftermath of the meeting, you’re experiencing several feelings at once, and none of them are very pleasant. You’re sad to see her go, you’re disappointed that this relationship didn’t last more than a few years, and you’re worried that you won’t easily find a replacement. But most of all, you’re confused. Why did she suddenly decide to move on, and what can you do to prevent this from happening again? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Provide an exit interview.
If you don’t have an exit interview policy in place, that’s okay. You don’t have to watch your employee walk out the door while you start building this aspect of your retention program from the ground up. Just sit down with her for a judgement-free question and answer session or quickly print out a set of written questions that might help you glean some insight. Of course, you’ll need to keep your questions meaningful and diplomatic if you hope to gain value from the exercise.
Don’t hold a grudge.
Show that you’re happy for your employee and encourage him to follow his career path wherever it leads. If you express any form of hostility or resentment, the employee will clam up. He’s not interested in potential reprisal, and if he fears a bad recommendation, he’ll tell you whatever you want to hear or nothing at all. Neither will help you grow.
Own your mistakes.
If the employee is leaving because she was denied a promotion or raise that she rightfully earned, own your mistake and try to correct it. Make a counter offer, issue an apology, and correct the injustice or injury that sent the employee out the door. If you stand behind your decision, that’s fine too. Just remember that turnover is the natural cost of an inability or unwillingness to help employees advance their careers.
Tune in to office chatter.
The employee may be leaving for reasons that he or she won’t or can’t openly share with you. But these reasons are still valid, so keep your ears open in case they’re also preventable. A toxic office culture, unreasonable expectations, below average salaries, and an unsafe workplace are common reasons why employees head for the door. If any of these are to blame for your most recent loss, you may discover this fact by listening more carefully to your remaining teams.
For more in how to respond to the loss of a valuable and talented employee, reach out to the staffing professionals at CSS.