The power of saying goodbye to your talent

Sometimes, people leave your organization. How do you respond? Are you happy for them? Or disappointed? How you respond makes all the difference for your success in talent management.

talent management
Don’t listen to Leo!

A nasty surprise

We’ve all been through it. You managed to assemble a great team, have exciting projects lined up and everybody’s ready to perform. This is the moment to reap the rewards. At that moment, one of your most talented people asks whether you have a minute. ‘I accepted another job offer,’ he says. Ouch. He was the one you had great plans for. The one who could outshine all your other team members.

How do you respond? Are you angry? Frustrated? Or are you happy for them?

Positive talent management

At TOPdesk, we’re happy for that person. Sincerely happy. Your employee’s probably leaving because he’s making a step in his career that’s important to him. He’s seizing an opportunity, one you would probably seize as well, if you were in his shoes.

You have every reason to be happy for your employee. This way, you make him feel you support him in this important decision. This will have a positive effect on how he will fulfill the last weeks with you. And since your employee leaves with a positive feeling, he will be more likely to recommend your organization, whether as an employer or supplier, to someone else.

In addition, your other team members will notice you respond positive and mature to your employee’s decision to leave and will appreciate you more for it. If one your team member ever consider switching jobs, it’s more likely they will discuss this openly with.

A blow for your organization?

Of course, in the short term your employee leaving is highly inconvenient. Your team will have to do a bit more work, and will have to postpone or cancel some plans you made. Which sucks. But in the long run, it’s not so bad that top employees leave every now and then. At least, it’s proof that you know how to recognize, recruit and develop talent. You’ve helped your talented employee flourish, advance his career and move on to the next challenge at another organization. That’s something to be proud of.

In the meantime, you managed to recruit other talented people. Who are still in your team. Sure, they may be less experienced that your employee who just left. But you know they’re good. And some of those will be ready to take on responsibilities that your now ex-employee had. They will learn, they will become better at their work or move on to a new role. And they will be happy for the opportunity you gave them to do so. Since your company keeps evolving too, your team members will have more room to grow than your previous employee had. That way, your organization pushes the growth of your talent – and the other way around.

Stagnant waters

There’s another thought I would like to share with you. Your employee who left, you probably liked him because he was always searching for new opportunities. Because he’s ambitious, restless, never satisfied with the status quo.

Do you work for an organization where no one ever leaves? Then there are two possibilities. You either work for the greatest organization on earth, and there’s nowhere else to go from there. If so: congratulations, well done. If that’s not the case, here’s a wake-up call.

If no one ever leaves your organization, it’s very likely you’ve employed people are really not that good. People who’re content to come to the office every day, perform reasonably well and get paid to do so. People who don’t live up to their potential. People who don’t really like the work they do, or deep down know they’re not very good at it.

What do you prefer? An organization where every now and then talented employees leave, creating room for other employees to grow and push the organization further? Or an organization where everyone stays glued to their office chairs without really excelling. Ask yourself this question the next time a talented employee comes to your desk and asks a minute of your time.