Tips for Replacing a Key Employee

Losing key employees can be stressful for any business—no matter the size, scale, or age of the company. In some cases, losing a key employee can catalyze a transition in its own right. This is especially true for hires who have been involved in the process of creating and shifting the direction of a business; they have company knowledge and have played a part in its development. Unfortunately, there comes a time when you have to let these essential figures go.

Here’s the good news: This is an opportunity to improve your team and your business as a whole. There are, however, several necessary steps you should take in order to hire the best possible employee. We suggest following three key tips to finding the perfect new hire: start early, ask for help, and plan a workable timeline.


Start Early

The hiring process is lengthy in nearly every situation, but this is especially true for replacing key players on your team. If your employee has given you notice of their intention to leave, don’t waste any time. If possible, solicit the help of a hiring manager or human resources professional to post the job as soon as possible. Remember that most new employees will need to put in a 2-weeks’ notice at their current positions, so get as many interviewees in the door as possible. If possible, start the hiring process while the outgoing employee is still at the company; they can provide invaluable insight.


Solicit the Help of the Departing Employee

Nobody knows a job like the person working it. If you’re losing a key member of your team, ask for their help in finding a replacement. This can include anything from steering interviews in a certain direction to crafting a list of required skills. Get their advice throughout the hiring process to ensure their replacement is up to the task. If there is enough time, allow the outgoing employee to help train the new hire.


Training and Transitioning Take Time

When finding a replacement for a key team figure, you might be tempted to rush into the hiring process. The truth is that this is an essential hire, and careful consideration should be paid to every decision along the way. To that end, it is important to keep in mind that you will be without this role for a while. Even once you’ve found and hired a replacement, training and transitioning can take several weeks. Have patience and trust that your new hire will do the job well.