Your Top Performer Is Resigning. What Now?

Janet Candido Guest Blogger - Kathbern Management Toronto Recruiting Agency

An owner or manager may feel the practical and psychological void left by the departure of someone whom they relied on – and even thought of as an ally or friend. But while losing a great employee is hard, acting irrationally could hurt future relationships and make the transition more difficult. Here are five tips for when a business’s best person gives their notice:

       Stay calm: Especially in smaller business environments, it’s not uncommon to develop familial-style relationships, and a business leader or manager may feel personally slighted or resentful when a trusted employee resigns. Avoid the urge to get emotional or unleash a barrage of questions. It’s okay to talk about the person’s future plans, but keep the tone warm and friendly. While the adage “don’t burn your bridges” is most often applied to departing employees, the same holds true for the employers seeing them go. You never know where that person will end up or, for that matter, where you’ll end up, so it’s advisable to maintain good relationships whenever possible.

       Never counteroffer: Although often considered as a knee-jerk reaction, a counteroffer is not recommended. It’s not easy to see someone walk away, but offering more money is usually not the answer, even if that is what the employee was angling for. By the time they’ve made the decision to go, psychologically they already have one foot out the door. And even if more money works temporarily, it’s only a short-term fix. If the issue wasn’t monetary but, say, growth potential or workload, it will continue to pose a problem regardless of salary. Plus, they were ready to walk, and they know that the company didn’t value them until they had another offer on the table.

Read More: What Do You Mean Money Isn’t Everything?

       Do an exit interview: Understanding why someone is leaving might help a company keep the next person. But make sure the process is useful and doesn’t turn into a venting exercise for the employee. Ask questions such as, what did you like most and least about working here? What would you change? If you could offer advice to the executives, what would it be?

      Know your obligation: Now is not the time to try to short-change an employee. Pay them for the entire notice period. If you feel that having the person work during that period might have a negative effect on staff or clients, opt to send them home instead. Even if the parting is amicable, a company has to protect its data, so remove security access appropriately and remind the employee that their obligations regarding confidentiality are still in effect. Unless the employee is antagonistic, handle this process as cordially as possible. Regardless of whether they initiated it, remember that this is a separation for them as well.

       Be proactive the next time: Identify top performers and value creators and make sure they are adequately compensated, challenged and experiencing high job satisfaction. Check in with them on a regular basis. A manager or executive should use this situation to take an honest look at their own leadership styles and performance management systems. Do you coach for the future, getting employees excited? Do you allow for open and honest dialogue and feedback?

Read More: Turnover is Killing Your Company – 7 Tips to Make it Stop

Even in the best situations, resignations happen. When they do, having a proactive plan in place can help minimize the impact on your business.

         Our guest blogger is Janet Candido, Principal of Candido Consulting Group Inc., a leading HR practice based in Toronto. Candido Consulting Group provides customized, innovative HR solutions for small-medium businesses and large organizations across North America. Since 1999, Candido Consulting Group has been developing and implementing HR systems, policies and solutions for companies who either do not have an HR department, or require additional expertise to create HR programs/services and resolve specific problems.


Kathbern Management is an executive search consultancy based in Toronto, helping companies find the executives and senior managers who not only have the experience and credentials to fulfil their responsibilities, but also have the emotional and “fit” requirements that will enable them to be successful in a particular environment. We simplify the process and, through our deep research, are able to bring more and better candidates forward than would ever be possible through a do-it-yourself passive advertising campaign.

Contact us today for a free consultation about your key person search.

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