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Your Best Employee Just Quit. Now What?

Actionable steps to take after top talent resigns

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The current job market is booming and the U.S. economy has added jobs for 100 months in a  row. A report in the Wallstreet Journal stated that the job market is the hottest it has been in 50 years! 

While a booming job market is great for both the economy and workers, one side effect of the boom is more turnover. Employees have more opportunity in this current job landscape which means they’re more likely to pursue other opportunities if they aren’t happy in their current situation. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. workers are seeking out new opportunities and quitting their jobs now more than ever before. In October 2018, over 2% of the total working population (over 3.5 million people!) voluntarily quit or resigned from their positions. 

All that turnover comes with a hefty price tag. In fact, turnovers can cost a company up to 213% of an employees salary by the time it takes to replace them. There’s also loss of productivity to consider and impact on the rest of your team, who may also begin looking for other opportunities when they hear a coworker has resigned. 

Companies are especially at risk of losing top performers who have built up strong portfolios and professional reputations, as it’s easier for these high-achievers to find new work. Small businesses can be especially vulnerable after the loss of even one top-performer. 

There are a number of reasons high-achievers leave and seek out new opportunities. Some of this turnover is unavoidable. For example, relocating, family planning and pursuing passion projects are three reasons that have little to do with the company itself. But other times, they resign because they are unhappy with the current culture of the department or they seek out higher pay, better benefits and more flexibility. 

As a manager or boss, you never want to lose a top performer under your watch. And while sometimes it’s out of your control, you can try your best to keep employees happy by staying on top of hiring trends, work perks, and the state of your department culture. Actively striving to a better place to work will go along with your high performers, who are likely to be very in tune with the current state of the job market and know what perks to expect. 

Here are the top three hiring trends employees are looking for right now:

  1. Company Culture: Nothing is worth it if you aren’t happy. Keep your employees happy by creating a culture that inspires them to be better, challenges them, and connects them to each other. Bi-weekly team building exercises and transparent leadership are two ways to improve company culture. 
  2. Work-Life Balance: You don’t have to sit at your desk all day to be productive any more. Trust that your employees can still get their work done with work-life balance. This includes giving them time to seek out health and wellness, allowing remote work flexibility, and flexible schedules. Workers with kids may prefer to get their work done from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. rather than the traditional 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. in order to spend more time with their families. 
  3. Value: Your team wants to know that the work they are doing means something. Automate what you can to give your workers more free time for higher level thinking projects. Google allows employees 20% of their work week to pursue personal passions as long as those passions will make them stronger workers. In order to be a top employer, you need to offer additional work benefits like learning opportunities, conferences, and team-building exercises. 

If your top talent goes resign, resist the urge to counter offer. Employees that accept a counter offer are still 80% likely to leave within six months. Read on for more tips from Fundera on how to conduct a successful exit interview and find an awesome replacement if your top employee resigns. 

Republished with kind permission & originally published at

About the Author

Meredith Wood

Editor-in-Chief at Fundera
Meredith Wood is the editor-in-chief at Fundera. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade, and is sought out frequently for her expertise in small business lending. Meredith’s advice has appeared in the SBA, SCORE, Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, American Banker, Small Business Trends, and more.
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