If a superstar leaves your employment, you’ll have to muddle through. Take some of the muddling out, with these steps:
Keep everyone who’s affected in the loop. If your departing superstar had contact with clients, talk with them immediately, and make sure somebody on your team who knows and cares what happens to them is serving them. Remain visible.
Manage anxiety over workloads. Reassure folks that the added load is temporary, compensate them for it and keep your word.
Let stars leave on good terms. These are people who worked hard for you. Take a moment to publicly acknowledge their contributions, and after they’ve gone, stay in touch.
Weigh your options as you reassign responsibilities. What qualities or experience do you actually have to replace? Are aspects of the job suited to one or two others in the group? Is this a chance to try something new?
Involve the person who’s leaving in the choice of successor. Superstars worth anything don’t want to see their work destroyed. If it would help, consider hiring your departing star as a consultant to ease the transition. In any case, have the star put together a crib sheet on job responsibilities.
Wait until after the superstar is gone to introduce changes.
Don’t call Geoff “the new Diane.”
— Adapted from “10 things to do when you lose your star,” Lucy Webb, Washington Business Journal.
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