What to do when your star resigns

by Stephanie Zillman11 Apr 2013

Many teams can identify with having a ‘star’ employee – that one person who makes things run all the more smoothly. The phrase ‘shock resignation’ is often rolled out for these stars, and their departure can mean a number of things for HR.

According to Sequioa Capital founder Don Valentine, the loss of a star can be quite a disruption, and the issue is certainly one HR must address. For this reason, it is best practice to be prepared and ready with a plan when top employees hand in their resignation.

Reflect on what caused the resignation: is it the result of a management issue? A poisonous team member? Create a space for the departing employee to talk freely about his or her reasons for leaving. Doing so may very well prevent future attrition. Reflect on internal operations and explore where company policies and management styles can be improved.

Explore the possibility of a counter-offer: The problems with counter offers are well documented, however some experts believe if done currently, counter offers can be worthwhile. After ascertaining the reasons behind the resignation, sometimes the offer of a salary increase can rectify the main issue, but it should also not be considered a retention technique.

Show your support: The best organisations wish employees well and especially so in cases where these employees will be leaving for better opportunities. It’s important to demonstrate to remaining staff that the departing employees’ contribution was appreciated.

Stay positive: Be positive when communicating the news to employees. It’s integral to acknowledge the loss for the company and convey your appreciation for the employee’s efforts. Let your employee say his parting words and immediately get into action to put your team into transition.


  • by Diana Dema 12/04/2013 12:50:58 AM

    Very good insight. A best practice that works is to make effective usage of Exit interviews. Conducting exit interviews with care and asking the right questions provides HR department with a useful information which if analysed on yearly basis, will provide management with the effective data about root causes of top talent resignation and thus encourage good decision making. Thank you for sharing!

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