What happens when a valuable employee resigns? First, don't panic.
After all, how many times have you moved from job to job? This is not an uncommon occurrence. Now that you're the boss you can't just throw a going away party and wish that person well.
There are certain steps you need to go through to make sure this is a smooth transition and everyone is on the same page.
Step 1: The Exit Interview
There should be no hard feelings when an employee resigns, especially if they are moving on to a different opportunity or opting to spend more time with their family. Just as you would with a client or vendor, you don't want to burn a bridge with a good employee. Who knows where they will land or if you might need them to consult for your company. If it is a situation where you know a competitor has made them an offer they can't refuse (and you can't match) let them know you appreciate their work.
Step 2: Recall the Non-disclosure Agreement
Hopefully, every employee working for your company signed a non-disclosure agreement before starting work. As they are leaving, it is a good time to remind them of their obligations under this contract. Technically, if they signed the agreement you don't have to remind them because it is legally binding. Just make sure they have a copy before they head out.
Step 3: Let the Company Know
When a valuable member of your team has decided to move on it won't be a secret for long. You still want to get out in front of the news by making some sort of official statement to the rest of the company either in an email, memo or announcement. Hopefully, there will be an opportunity for your former employee to train the new hire. You can also have that going away party to allow everyone a moment of closure. Then it's back to business.
Step 4: Ask For a Written Duty Log
The employee who is leaving might have taken on tasks you're not even aware of. It will be a big help if they were to write down all of their tasks and responsibilities. This is a document they can hand off to the person taking their place. This log should include all the usernames, passwords, email accounts and other company online access issues. This is another reason why you don't want to make this resignation awkward: You still need that employee's help!
Step 5: Call Up a Recruiter
You should know exactly how much time you have to fill the position. This doesn't mean you need to rush to find that new person. Put a recruiter to work to find the best candidate. Perhaps your old employee might even have a recommendation. If they aren't moving to another job, you can also leave the door open for future freelance work.
No matter how important this person was to your business, it's not the end of the world when they leave. You'll press on and might just find that a new member of the team is just the shot in the arm your company needs to take it to the next level.