If one of your best employees gives notice and it’s a complete surprise, some examination is in order, says Vince Crew, author of Keeping the Very Best (Lighthouse CCUNIV Publications Ltd., 2003) and owner of REACH Development Services, a consulting firm based in Naples, Fla.

Perhaps you haven’t been paying enough attention to what’s going on, or you need to improve some management techniques. In the meantime, however, you must take steps to make sure company morale doesn’t plummet.

The key is to make everything as positive as possible. Crew says. Here are his tips:

  • Issue a statement.
  • Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. This should not be by memo, but sincere and face to face, through special employee gatherings throughout the day or over a couple of days.

  • Give reasons that indicate a friendly parting.
  • This is not a time for vindictiveness or name-calling. Take your time and craft a message that speaks to the values, direction and mission of your company, and why the departing manager felt the need to leave. Make it clear that you wish him/her well.

  • Rally the troops, and give direction and encouragement.
  • This is no time for self-pity and a “woe is me” attitude. Now is the time for words such as “his/her presence will be missed, but we’ve all got to keep going because our families and customers are depending on us.”

  • Agree to be civil.
  • In the rare cases where you’re worried that a departing employee may be vindictive, have a meeting with the individual regarding “parting decorum.” Make it clear that you plan to take the high road and you expect the same treatment, and that any sabotage or actions to undermine the organization may have consequences for the person’s severance package.


Moving On

Don't let the loss of a key employee harm your business.


Brain Trust

Don't lose valuable information when your employee leaves.