Employee Turnover Strategies: 4 Steps to Take When a Top Performer Leaves

You just found out one of your best employees is resigning. Join the club. Perhaps a sign of an improved economy, more people are pursuing greener pastures. In fact, more than 2.5 million American workers quit their jobs in May 2014, when the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey was released. True, your former employee will be a mere statistic in a BLS report, but make no mistake: watching a star walk out the door is bad news.

So, what should you do next? Here are four steps to take when a top-performing employee leaves:

1. Break the News to (and Reassure) Your Team

You should communicate change to your team as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is for your employees to learn about their accounting colleague’s exit from someone else. Hearing the news elsewhere could damage morale. Meet with your staff in person all at once, if possible, to answer questions and address potential issues. Listen to their concerns and seriously consider what changes you can make to the work environment or culture to bolster your retention efforts.

2. Increase Communication

If you just found out a top performer is quitting and noticed no warning signs, you could likely stand to work on improving communication in the workplace. Implement an open-door policy so your employees can meet with you in person. They’ll appreciate the effort, and you’ll be more aware of their concerns. In addition, provide feedback to employees as often as possible. Adapt your management style to fit each team member’s needs and personality. You’ll be surprised how big a difference that can make. Simple actions like praising your employees promptly for a job well done can go a long way toward reducing employee turnover.

3. Help Employees Deal with Heavier Workloads

An employee’s departure can have a ripple effect throughout the organization. Your remaining team members may have to handle more work because your top performer left. Evaluate your strategy to help employees deal with heavier workloads. Consider moving team members around to work on more urgent matters. To keep burnout at bay, give employees greater control over their work schedules so they can manage their lives away from work. For example, let them telecommute or pursue flextime options if it helps them be more productive.

4. Hire Strategically

You may need to hire someone quickly. Consider bringing in an interim professional to handle some of the departing staff member’s duties. Temporary professionals could be just what you need to prevent a vicious cycle of employee turnover, given that it would reduce your team’s workload and stress level. You could keep him or her on board until you hire someone to replace your top performer. Or, you might even find that the temporary professional is just the right person for the full-time job.

What is your strategy for stemming employee turnover? 

Related post: Concerned About Employee Retention? Make Your Accounting Staff Love Your Company

Tags: Management