5 Things to Do When Your Employee Quits

I have said in the past that often my writing and my ‘list of 5′ for a particular week is inspired by events happening in the moment. This time is no different. Kim let me know last week that she is resigning as an employee. We knew this would happen eventually, but it still took me by surprise.
Take me directly to the list

I’m really happy for Kim. She is launching her own business, Junior Chefs (the website is coming soon, so in the meantime I invite you to go checkout her Facebook page). The mission of Junior Chefs is “Teaching kids 5 – 99 about the fundamentals of cooking and healthy eating seed to plate!” Something I support wholeheartedly. She’s great with kids, an amazing chef and a patient teacher. The combination will be a really fun experience for those that take her classes. And although we tried to change some of her hours here to make things work, she finally realized that to really give Junior Chefs the attention it deserves, it needs to be her only business commitment.


Like I said, I am really happy for Kim. But I have to admit that the news had me spinning a bit in the land of the unknown. She’s been here for 16 months and has responsibility over very specific parts of my business. And we are having an open house in a few weeks. And I am planning vacation in March. (Thankfully, she has still agreed to help out including bartending during the open house!)

(Internal conversation: As someone who’s tagline is ‘empowering passion-driven entrepreneurial women’ would it look bad if I tried to make her stay and forgo her dream? Yes? Shit.)

The list for this week could look like this:

5 Critical Steps When Life Throws Your Business a Curve-ball

  1. React and release: Breathe. Cry. Scream. Laugh. Go for a walk/run/drink/internet cat meme marathon.
  2. Talk to someone. Someone who can listen and not try to ‘fix it.’
  3. Tap into your intuition about what needs to happen.
  4. Look for an opportunity that is opening. There is one. Promise.
  5. Take action. Anything. Even if its wrong.

Don’t judge about the internet cat meme marathon and I won’t judge whatever you use for distraction. And since there really are things to do when an employee/contractor is leaving, the real list is below.

I have not made my decision yet on if or how I am replacing her. I’ll keep you informed. For now, you’ll be hearing just my voice answering the phones and responding to room requests.

I have a list of topics that is always percolating and ‘Reasons to Have Help’ or something like that has been on it from the beginning. This week’s blog is a bit cart-before-the-horse-ish (exiting before hiring?). Chances are good you’ll be seeing that list soon as I’ll quickly be reminded of why I hired Kim in the first place.

Here’s to embracing change!


5 Things to Do When An Employee Quits

If you have decided to leverage your time by hiring an employee (or even a contractor), eventually the relationship will come to an end. Here’s a few things to make the event a bit easier:

  1. Thank them for their work. Sincerely. Make sure they know how much their efforts helped your business. Create an environment where you will be on good terms (you never know what might happen in the future – they could refer business!). Offer to be a reference.
  2. Evaluate what you want to do for this position in the future. Will you replace them? If circumstances changed, look at how to change the role: expand it, break it up, cut it back, use an intern, contract out the work.
  3. Review to make sure all the pieces of their role (policies, procedures, log-in information, etc) are documented. Their day-to-day work most likely has changed since the job description you hired them into. Taking time to do this can prevent gaps in the days after they leave, especially if they are not training their replacement.
  4. Develop a transition plan including who and when clients/vendors/other employees will be told and a specific list of work to be completed before they leave. Create agreements around future communication. Is it OK to call them and ask questions?
  5. On their last day, reclaim all the physical resources from your business that they have (keys, tools, computer, etc). Change access to accounts. Make arrangements for their final paycheck. Have an exit interview. Be open to what you hear (and if you can’t be, have someone else do it for you). Celebrate.

NOTE: This list is for an amicable situation. You’ll notice no instructions to walk an employee out, enforce a non-compete agreement, or block them from conversations with customers. I hope you never have a hostile situation like this, but if it happens consider alternate actions (like immediate termination) and consult an HR expert or lawyer on other steps to take.

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