How To Handle Losing Your Star Performer

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Employees  You´ve lost your star employee, now what to do? When a company depends on a few major players and one or more of them departs it can be a major–and sometimes fatal–hit to the company. But there are ways to protect your company from suffering when a standout employee leaves.

First, try to keep that employee, says Dr. Mary M. Gillam, a retired Air Force Colonel, and former member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) Corps at the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. “Determine if there is anything the company can still do to retain the employee (i.e. monetary increase, new job position),” says Gillam, owner of M2G Dynamic Leadership Solutions, LLC, a woman and veteran-owned information technology management, and leadership development consulting firm. “If the answer is no, then business continuity is paramount. Develop a game plan to ensure that the outgoing employee’s responsibilities are transferred/allocated to others so that the business does not suffer irrevocable harm due to the loss.”

When you do lose such an employee, don´t let negativity rule. “Since this individual was a star performer, then you should address the loss with the rest of the team in a positive manner. You want to ensure that the morale in the organization does not suffer,” notes Gillam.

Prepare to proceed. “When you lose a star employee, the first step is to evaluate what the employee did that created so much value for your company. The next step is to evaluate what potential job candidates could do to replace the previous production,” explains Andrew Royce Bauer, CEO, Royce Leather. “The final step is to hire someone who can not only replace the previous production but add an additional dimension to the company that can further growth.”

In reorganizing, remember, it is not advisable to rely on the efforts of one employee. “There is a danger in relying on one employee. A company survives on a team effort. The star of the team should always be the team,” Bauer points out.  “If you do not have a cohesive unit that works together to be successful, you should reevaluate your company’s structure.”  

So moving forward work to develop a more solid team, one that can survive and thrive without the leader or star player. And develop an atmosphere of sharing information. You want your other employees to be able to pick up accounts and handling clients seamlessly after staff shifts.