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The best developer on our team has decided to move on to pursue new experiences at another company.  Everyone on the team is bummed because she is a great developer.  She is analytical and logical, which helps come up with multiple potential solutions and talk it through.  Also, she has a great way to make even a person who is not tech-savvy understand the technical aspect of a project. She will be missed, but I have thought about what to do when a talented employee is leaving. Companies usually get it wrong and that negatively impacts them. 

Hiring Process

The hiring process can be long and tedious especially when it’s a professional who has hard-to-find skills. Therefore, there is time and resources that are spent in trying to find the right fit. One thing companies do wrong is that they just look at the resume. “Oh, this person has this certification” or “This person worked for this company?” That’s great, but there are some people who are great test-takers, and there are others who can BS with the best of them. You have to make sure that you also interview each candidate, and if possible, include the person who he/she is replacing.

Training a Replacement

According to Patriot Software, the average cost of training an employee is $1,252. This does not even cover the amount of time spent by different team members, including the new one.

If it’s a more IT-based employee, you can also use sites like Pluralsight. This is what our company uses. I have been learning Python so I can eventually build my own app. There are tons of different areas that someone can learn about, and it has helped my company tremendously.

Learning Curve

You might be the most experienced [job title] in the world, but every experience is different. This is impacted by company culture, the client (if there are any), project, location, etc. Therefore, you will always have to learn before you become a contributor to the project. If you are the Project Manager, you have to make sure to plan accordingly because there will be a decrease in the amount of work that can be done by the team.

There are other impacts when a dedicated, hardworking, and talented employee leaves. Some of them are the project team’s morale, the client’s trust, and the list keeps going. How can you retain your employee or reduce the risk to the project? Here are some tips:

Listen to Concerns and Do Something About It

The majority of the time employees don’t just leave right away. They will tell management what their concerns are and/or express what they want. When management decides to ignore it, the employee will usually get frustrated and start doing his/her own job search. This is exactly what happened. Our developer told us that she wanted to work with new technologies. I expressed to my Account Executives that we have to make sure that we put her on projects that get her working with new technologies, and they decided to ignore it and focus on what the current client wanted. I knew she would leave, and that is exactly what happened.

Counter Offer

You missed your chance to take care of your employee’s concerns, and he/she has now given their two-week notice. Counter the offer. Offer a slight job increase, try to take care of the concerns (if they are valid), and work to come up with a future roadmap of their career. It might not work, but at least you can try. You might be surprised. At one of my job, one of the subcontractors announced she was leaving. Her manager didn’t even attempt to talk to her and get her to stay. She admitted to me that if he would have countered, she would have taken it. However, he didn’t even give her a proper thank you and meet her in person.

Cross Train the New Team Member

If possible, try to have the team member who is leaving interview and train the new one. This is of course with the caveat that you can find someone before the team member leaves.

Finding talented and hardworking people can be hard to find. Therefore, cherish the team members you have and don’t take them for granted. If the person decides to leave, be happy for them that she is starting a new journey in her life and celebrate with her.

If you like this post, please share and comment below if you had to deal with a similar situation and what you did.


“What Is the Cost of Training Employees?” Payroll Tips, Training, and News, 21 Dec. 2017, http://www.patriotsoftware.com/payroll/training/blog/cost-training-employees-average/.