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What to Do When You Lose a Key Employee

12 April 2022
What to Do When You Lose a Key Employee

When you lose a key employee, it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Not only do you have to worry about how you’re going to fill that vacancy, but also how the rest of your team will be able to pick up the slack. If you’re not sure what to do when this happens, don’t worry, don’t panic – we’re here to help. In this blog post, we’ll explore five tips to help you through this challenging time and how to deal with the loss of a key employee.

Recognize the Loss

When a key employee leaves abruptly, it can be difficult to digest what has happened and determine your next steps. What should you do first? How long will you have to wait for a new hire? Can things ever return to the way they were before the employee left?

Almost every CEO and entrepreneur has lost a key employee before. No one likes to lose an employee, but it is bound to happen at some point. Many employees have been with CEOs from the start of their business, been through countless ups and downs, and shared in every success and failure. 

It is hard to watch them leave, but you want nothing but the best for them when you genuinely care for them. It’s not always easy when they quit due to a better opportunity or because something better comes along. Still, it doesn’t mean the end of your relationship with them or that you haven’t done an excellent job as a CEO or employer.

Tips to Help You Sail Through

The most challenging task associated with running a company is hiring and training good employees. When you finally find someone with the right combination of skills, experience, knowledge, work ethic, and attitude, they become an integral part of your team — often considered one of your “key” employees.

It becomes difficult to imagine how your company would function without that person when that happens.

Here are some things every CEO should do when they lose a key employee, so they know how to handle this situation like a pro:

1. Make Sure Your Employees Feel Important, No Matter What Role or Position They Play Within Your Company

This is one of the most important things you need to do as a CEO or employer. You want your employees to feel appreciated, respected, and valued for what they are doing.  

Even if they’re working on menial tasks, they must know you appreciate them for doing whatever job is required of them at the time. Nothing will make an employee leave faster than feeling taken advantage of and not valued enough about their work within a company. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the mailroom or the CFO. 

All employees should be treated with respect and love, no matter how big or small their jobs are within a company. Who knows when someone will come along offering higher pay elsewhere and take them away from you?

2. Have Empathy, Don’t Take Anything for Granted, and Never Look Down on Employees Because They’re Replaceable

It’s easy to forget about the value of an employee when you have a company and people to answer to. If you take them for granted, this will be your downfall as a CEO or employer. 

If someone is valuable within your company, you will do everything in your power not to lose them. It’s scary how one person can make such a big difference to the way things run. You may not always understand their motivation or reasoning behind specific ideas or concepts they introduce into the company. But those additions might end up being something that saves the company time and money down the road. 

So, it’s important to embrace those contributions by your employees. Treat them with respect and always listen to their ideas and opinions, even if you disagree. Because you never know what ideas will help move the company forward.

3. Be Considerate of Your Employee’s Well-Being; Knowing When It’s Best to Let Go Is Important for Everyone

It’s not easy to be an employee, so having a good employer goes a long way in keeping them at your company or organization. 

You want to make sure that they feel respected, appreciated, safe, and comfortable. Which are all things every CEO should aspire to within their company culture. Sometimes it takes losing a key employee you have spent years building your company with for you to realize that the little stuff does matter even though it costs less.

4. Be Happy for Your Employees When the Time Comes That They Move On to Bigger and Better Things: It’s a Win-Win Situation

No matter how good of an employee you had, it’s only a matter of time before someone offers them something better somewhere else. This is part of the business, so embrace their hard work and contribution to your company by wishing them well in everything they do from here on out. 

It’s not easy losing such an integral part of your organization, but keep in mind you gave them more than just a job. You gave them an opportunity for growth within their career which isn’t afforded to every employee. So be pleased with what they can accomplish while working at your company and wish them luck for all future endeavors. 

You will never forget them as that star employees who helped build your company up to where it is today. So, take pride in knowing they have grown into better professionals due to your opportunities while working for you.

5. Keeping Employees Happy Will Lead To Wins Down the Road

When your employees are happy, they will want to contribute more to the company and work harder because they don’t want to let anyone down. A company that cares about its employees is a win-win situation for everyone involved. A happy workforce will do everything to help the company succeed, making the organization better in return. 

Losing a key employee might hurt today, but if you manage your employees right, it could be what saves the business tomorrow, even though it might not seem like it at first glance. 

Being an entrepreneur or having a key position within any startup means taking risks, whether good or bad ones, which is why it’s essential to know when these risks are worth taking or not. Sometimes losing an employee can change the entire direction of your company for the better.

What to Do When You Lose a Key Employee

You now have five things to keep in mind when your key employees decide to move on, and they can be highly beneficial if you handle them correctly. 

So, remember to listen to your employees, and respect everyone equally regardless of their position within an organization. Be happy for them no matter what, because life is too short not to enjoy the success of others. 

Get Back on Track by Focusing on Your Strengths


  1. Get back up and stay organized.
  2. Set the right tone when discussing an upcoming departure with your employees.
  3. Keep up with employee training.
  4. Be ready to accept help from others, e.g., advice from your close friends. 

Letting go of a key employee can sometimes stir up feelings of guilt or anger that you’re not supposed to feel when they leave your company (you might feel like you didn’t do enough to keep them happy). 

That’s why it’s good to confide in family members or close friends about the situation. They can remind you that what happened is out of your control and that you should be grateful for having had the time to work with such a special person.

The last thing you want to do is allow your emotions to get in the way of completing whatever project the employee was working on before leaving. You should always keep business separate from personal feelings and focus on what needs to be done so that your company can keep moving forward. Feel free to browse through our website or contact us for more digital solutions.

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