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You WILL survive! What to do when you lose a star employee

Break ups can be messy. But they needn’t be…

One of your greatest challenges is retaining employees who add greatest value to your business. Regrettably, all good things must come to an end – and sometimes one of your top performers decides to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

If this happens, we will always be on hand to help you find outstanding new talent to fill the gap.

In the meantime, here are our tried and tested tips to guide you through the initial phases following a resignation.

The sun WILL come out tomorrow…


Stage one: The immediate aftermath

It will be important for you to ask why your employee is leaving. You need to understand if there is something fixable at play that might make them change their mind. Above all, you need to know if there is an issue which might lead to a domino-effect exodus of other employees. Usually, it will be because the opportunities they seek are not available within your business.

Occasionally you have the chance to make a counter-offer which might be enough for them to reconsider. Mostly you will need to accept that their decision has been made and make peace with that.

Counter-offers should be handled cautiously. Once it is known that you bid for employees to remain, other employees might opportunistically use resignation as a tactic to achieve better pay or perks! Secondly, whilst it might entice the star to stay on, more often than not it is just a temporary stop gap and the employee leaves anyway a short while later.

As with all relationships, once you have reached the end of the road, dignity and grace are essential. Avoid petulant comments in the heat of the moment about the new firm, role or the candidate themselves. Stay professional and positive – besides, you never know when and how your paths may cross again.

Communicate to their team and other relevant parties as soon as possible. Discuss any concerns arising out of this change openly and optimistically. Make sure your tone is positive, reassuring and respectful regarding the person who is leaving.


Stage two: Reassure your remaining employees

Managing the narrative will be crucial. Losing a highly regarded, invaluable or rainmaking colleague might make other employees concerned for the company’s future or inspire them to also look for pastures new.

Make sure your remaining employees feel valued. Openly communicate as soon as possible with a positive message, addressing individual concerns and highlighting the opportunities the vacancy will create. Remind them of the direction you are taking the firm and reiterate their important contribution to that journey.

Identify and deal with issues that may cause other employees to want to leave – and do so quickly and thoroughly.

There can sometimes be a threat that a team leader will take good people with them. Ensure you are legally covered as thoroughly as possible against this eventuality.


Phase three – avoid the brain drain

When you lose a high performer, you are waving farewell to more than a person. You are also losing their relationships, their knowledge and their knowhow. These are all precious commodities in the insurance and financial services sectors and often vital to your competitive edge.

Ensure you have access to their contacts database (preferably within a central, firmwide client relationship management (CRM) database). Prioritise a handover plan as soon as possible and gain a fuller understanding of the employee’s daily tasks, live projects and general responsibilities. Agree on the delivery of a handover note which should include knowledge unique or specific to the employee.


Phase 4: Learn from it

Understanding why the key performer is leaving will be crucial as it will help you find ways to retain your star performers in the future. Explore if anything needs to change to ensure stronger employee retention.


Phase 5: Time to move on

Realise now that this is actually an opportunity! You have the chance to recruit exceptional new talent, bringing a fresh perspective and highly valuable skills. And our friendly and experienced team will help you find them.

Our rigorous screening swiftly identifies outstanding and motivated candidates who will add genuine value and help you boost your business.

Call us today on 01483 668700 or email us at

We will help you replace your stars with even higher flyers – and retain them.


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