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What to Do When an Employee Leaves

What to Do When an Employee Leaves

David Javitch: Employee Management | Entreprenuer

4. Know how the employee evaluates peers, subordinates and superiors. This will help the replacement employee identify whom to go to for what purposes; whom to trust with what kinds of issues, tasks, and responsibilities; whom to rely on to work on their own without providing structure; whom to provide brief or minimal amounts of structure, follow-up and guidance; whom to offer more structure, follow-up and guidance; and finally, whom to provide considerable amounts of structure, follow-up and guidance.

Clearly and understandably, there will be holes in what gets accomplished after the current employee leaves. Ideally, the outgoing employee will have provided sufficient lead time for you and others to deal with the issues that need to be addressed until a replacement is hired.

Under the best circumstances, the current employee will remain long enough for the new person to be hired and trained, allowing for a smoother transition. Nonetheless, some degree of uncertainty, lack of effectiveness, efficiency and productivity is unavoidable. The idea, of course, is to minimize these negative effects.

Answering the questions and challenges created when an employee leaves your organization will help you tie up loose ends, resolve outstanding issues and prevent gaps in your organization’s ongoing productivity. However, these answers should not be used as a “written in cement” recipe for the replacement employee’s job performance and success. Instead, this information should serve as a roadmap for effectiveness that allows the replacement employee to apply skills, knowledge and experiences to current and future actions.

Change brings with it the potential for new opportunities and innovation. You want your new employee to be successful, but you really don’t want or expect a clone of the departing individual. This is especially true when it comes to the issue of trust. Each person brings individual abilities, insights and approaches to issues and people. Simply because the departing employee trusted a peer, subordinate or superior doesn’t imply or guarantee that the new employee will either trust or distrust a specific individual. Expecting the same behavior can spell defeat of the employee and dissatisfaction for you.

The more positively you and others view this change process, and the more you address the challenges inherent in the turnover, the more satisfied and productive the transition will be.

David G. Javitch, Ph.D., is Entrepreneur.com’s “Employee Management” columnist and an organizational psychologist and president of Javitch Associates, an organizational consulting firm in Newton, Massachusetts. With more than 20 years of experience working with executives in various industries, he’s an internationally recognized author, keynote speaker and consultant on key management and leadership issues.

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