How to Handle Losing an Employee

Whether it comes as a surprise, or you see it coming from a mile away, losing someone in your employ is a challenge. It can be disorienting, emotional, and stressful.

How you deal with the change will determine how quickly your business recovers and how smooth that transition will be. Use the following points in your plan of action to deal with it in the most expedient way possible.

Know the Reason for Separation

It’s not just to satisfy your curiosity; understanding the reason why this person left the company, even if you fired them, is useful information that will help you to avoid it happening in the future.

It may have been necessary that they leave, but the truth is that losing a member of your team costs valuable time, energy, and money. Not only that, but the reason might reveal shortcomings on your part, as well.

Don’t Rush the Hiring Process

Hopefully, you have plenty of time to fill the vacancy created by the separation of this employee, but many times it will happen too suddenly to find a replacement right away. That makes it really tempting to get someone on board immediately without properly vetting them.

There are of course those circumstances where you simply cannot wait to hire someone because operations will literally fall apart if you don’t, but it benefits you to take as much time as possible to make sure you’re not just creating another problem from which you will have to recover.

Recruit Help Internally to Cover the Vacancy

As a business owner, you are most likely going to attempt to pick up all the extra work left by the employee who left, all by yourself. Unless there is absolutely no other option, that is usually a big mistake, and probably an unnecessary one.

Delegate those leftover tasks, and spread them out over a few team members to minimize strain on any single person, including yourself.

Reevaluate the Position

The vacancy is a perfect opportunity to take another look at the role of this position and how you can improve it. It may have been some time since you’ve evaluated the position, which is needed anyway, as your business grows and its structure changes.

It’s quite possible that many of this person’s duties can now be easily absorbed by other departments or eliminated entirely. When examining the position, you can also look for ways to make it more productive and add other responsibilities that you may not have considered before.

Losing a member of your team is never easy. They may have been with you for a long time, and now you’re abruptly forced to say goodbye, which not only affects you, as the owner and the one who brought them in, but their termination is probably difficult for the rest of your team who have built relationships with them.

These small pieces of advice should hopefully help you to ease the transition while you find someone new to competently fill their shoes.


Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.

Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.

StephanieHow to Handle Losing an Employee