What to Do When a Valuable Employee Wants to Leave


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Valuable employees make a considerable impact on whether a business is successful or not, so how do you keep them?

Article 2 Minutes
What to Do When a Valuable Employee Wants to Leave

Employees can want to leave a company for a variety of reasons. Whether it's because they want higher pay or just a change of scenery, professionals are more used to switching jobs than ever before. But what do you do when your most valuable employees want to go elsewhere?

Losing this talent could mean becoming much less competitive with your rivals and could even limit the services you are able to offer clients. So what should you do if a talented employee wants to change jobs?

Understand the reasons for them leaving

If your key employee is leaving because they want higher pay or more autonomy in their role, this might be something you can discuss with them. It may be that you can come to an agreement that allows them to feel fulfilled in the company, even if it's not in their current role. Understanding why they want to leave is the most important step you can take to encouraging them to stay.

Talk to their team

Speaking to the people they work most closely with will tell you exactly how valuable they are to the company. It may be that they are a high performer, but really struggle to get on with their team or they might be the foundation holding it together. Talking openly with them will help you see the employee's real value and determine how hard you want to fight for them to stay.

Highlight the perks of your company

Maybe it's your company culture or the benefits package you have, but whatever the main selling point of your business is for employees, make sure you emphasize this. Of course, you'll also want to draw on how much of a valuable contribution they make to the company, and why their strengths are so important for the business.

In the end, let them go

If you've done the above steps, and have tried to encourage them to stay and they still want to leave, you need to admit defeat and let them go. The last thing you want is to sour a good working relationship because you don't want to lose talent from your company. Instead, admit that the firm is sad to see them go and affirm that they are a very talented employee.

Once it's decided, you can use them to help you find the best replacement and maybe talk about how their role could evolve to make the company more effective. It may be that they can recommend someone to take over from them, which could significantly reduce your recruitment costs.

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