Why It’s OK to Let Employees Quit — and How to Help Them

5 min read
Nov 15, 2016

employee turnover

In a perfect world, every employee you hire would love your company and commit to sticking around for a long time. But in today’s evolving business landscape, workers change jobs often. As a study on LinkedIn notedthe average millennial will have switched jobs four times by the time they turn 32. Part of that is due to the fact that some employees simply outgrow their job role or, thanks to the passage of time, are no longer interested in the organization. Studies have shown that employees also leave because job hoppers get paid considerably more over the course of their careers than those who stay put, as Forbes points out.

It’s true that losing talented workers is tough. But you don’t have control over anyone’s decisions but your own. Instead of getting upset by the news that one of your most skilled employees is leaving the company, you should let your workers leave by supporting their choices. Here’s why:


01. Your best employees are constantly trying to improve themselves

When you hire the best and brightest workers, it’s only natural that they’ll leave sooner or later — particularly if your company is unable to offer them opportunities for advancement internally. These people have ambition, after all.

While you may not be too thrilled that one of your best employees says yes to a job offer elsewhere, you have to remember that it’s not the end of the world. Your company will be able to continue on without them. At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself whether you’d prefer hiring someone who isn’t motivated to reach the next level professionally or someone who is. Odds are you prefer the latter.


02. Employees that stick around too long can become toxic and thwart team productivity

If someone’s already thinking about moving on to their next job, there’s a good chance that they’ve already got one foot out the door. Once an employee starts thinking that they need to take a job elsewhere, let them go. The last thing you want is an increasingly unmotivated person disrupting the morale of your team. There’s no sense in risking an employee who on the way out taking other team members down with them.


03. Even the best employees can be replaced

Yes, losing the stronger members of your team might put you in a tricky place. You’ll have to figure out how to tackle all of those individuals’ work responsibilities without skipping a beat.

If you’ve already built an enviable recruitment funnel, you may be able to replace even the best members of your team before you know it. But even if you don’t, it’ll only be a matter of time before you hire someone new to replace your outgoing staffer. In almost all conceivable work-related scenarios, you’ll be able to find someone to replace your top-performing employees. You may just have to suck it up for a bit. But be patient. This too shall pass.

millennial job hopping 

04. It’s not unheard of for employees to go back to companies they’ve left

If you get all sour when one of your strongest employees tells you they’re taking a job elsewhere, it’s safe to say that the individual will not be your biggest fan. Instead of letting your emotions dictate your response to what is understandably unpleasant news, try to respond in a calm, cool, and collected manner. The last thing you want is to say something you’ll later regret.

Even though your best employee may be jumping ship right now, you never know when that person will resurface down the line. Perhaps they will reach a point in their careers when it makes sense to head back to your company in a more experienced role. If you give employees a hard time when they tell you they’re leaving, it’s unlikely that they’ll think about returning to your company — even if it’s a perfect fit.

Now that you understand why it’s not so bad for employees to leave, let’s take a look at some tips and tricks for managing employee exits.


How to Help with the Transition

As a manager, you know it’s only a matter of time before one of your employees jumps ship. That being the case, you need to put your business in a position to best absorb the impending loss. Here are four ways to do that:


01. Always be recruiting

Manage your recruitment funnel on a regular basis to ensure top talent is consistently interested in your company. That way, you can begin an interviewing process immediately after you learn an employee is taking another job.


02. Conduct exit interviews

Is there a reason your outgoing employee is deciding to leave? You need to find out if there are any problems and work fast to fix them. For example, many of today’s workers value professional development. But according to our Engagement Report, only 25% of employees believe their companies offer enough development opportunities. If your worker is leaving because they aren’t adding new skills or taking on new responsibilities, you might want to make career development a top priority at your organization.

percent-pro-opp-graph (1).jpg 

03. Support your remaining employees

Once a team member leaves, you’re going to have to figure out how to juggle their responsibilities — assuming you’re not able to replace them right away. Most likely, you’ll spread out some work across remaining team members, who are already busy with their own responsibilities. Until a replacement is found and things get back to normal, you need to offer your full support to your employees so that they have the knowledge and resources they need to stay on top of their new workloads.


04. Don’t make anyone indispensable

Instead of having one person writing all of your marketing blogs and one different person making all of your sales calls, for example, you’re much better off creating roles that are more comprehensive. The last thing you want is your blog writer to leave only to find you’re left with employees who can’t write at all. Spread out responsibilities as much as possible so that no one employee becomes completely indispensable. That way, it’ll be easier to pick up the slack when an employee leaves.

Even the best manager in the world isn’t capable of convincing every one of their employees to stick around forever. No matter what industry you’re in or how big your company is, it’s only a matter of time before a team member moves on. Instead of letting their departure hold your company back, thank your exiting employees for their hard work, respect their decisions, and end the relationship on a positive note. You never know what the future holds.



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