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4 Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated When an Employee Leaves

4 Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated When an Employee Leaves

No matter what the circumstances are, personnel changes are bound to happen. Employees leave for a variety of reasons, sometimes for better positions and sometimes because of poor performance or behavior issues. Either way, employee departures can have a profound effect on the rest of your team and it’s part of a manager’s job to keep everyone motivated when it happens.

Losing a staff member can be difficult enough all by itself, especially if they were a high performer, a long-term employee, or one your team’s de facto leaders. The last thing you want is for things to get worse because of decreased motivation. Fortunately, there are some tried and true methods to keep your people happy and productive in this sort of situation.

Here are 4 effective ways to keep your team motivated when an employee leaves.

Keep Everyone in the Loop as Much as Possible

People like to be included, especially in a situation they think might have an eventual effect on their job situation. That’s why one of the best things you can do when a team member leaves is to keep the rest of your staff in the loop. This sort of news tends to travel around the office pretty quickly anyway, so apprise them of the situation as quickly as possible to avoid confusion and keep unnecessary rumors from flying around.

We’re going to focus on reassuring the rest of your staff in a moment, but the first step toward this goal is being as transparent with your staff as possible. No one can feel secure if they sense that you’re being secretive or withholding, so be as open as you can without violating office policies or confidentiality principles.

Stay Upbeat and Positive

A big part of keeping your team motivated is employee morale, so make sure to stay upbeat and positive whenever a member of your staff leaves. Whether the departing person was a top performer or the weakest link in your chain, your team needs you to stay energized and optimistic at a time like this. Once you’ve told them everything that you can about the situation, re-emphasize your team’s goals and outline all of the ways you can still reach them.

Be Compassionate and Reassuring

Losing a team member for whatever reason can be scary for a lot of people, so make sure you’re compassionate about what they might be feeling when someone leaves. Some of your staff might have become close to the person that left, so acknowledge the feelings of loss they might be experiencing and remind them that they and their friend will continue to thrive.

The loss of a team member can also make people feel insecure about the future of their jobs. That’s why it’s crucial that you reassure them this particular move has nothing to do with them. If any staff members seem especially distressed, meet with them in person and listen to their concerns. Remind them privately that every staff member is evaluated on their own merits, not in relation to something else that might have happened.

Get Back to Work as Quickly as Possible

Losing a team member can be a damaging break in continuity even in the best scenarios, so don’t let your staff dwell on the loss any longer than necessary. Return to business as usual as soon as you can to keep up both morale and productivity. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should be insensitive or uncaring. In fact, you should get back to work as quickly as possible for the opposite reason– because it’s the best way to move on and return to a sense of normalcy.

Handling the loss of an employee is never easy, but keeping people motivated when someone leaves is the true test of a good manager. If you manage the loss with sensitivity and wisdom, your team won’t need to miss a step.


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Posted by Mellie Goolsby Mathis on June 8, 2017

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