Make a Transition Plan When a Valued Employee Leaves

When a valuable employee tells you they’re leaving, worrying about losing their institutional knowledge and experience is understandable. How can you oversee the transition in a way that helps you retain that expertise? Your first step is to outline how you will transfer the knowledge, whom you will transfer it to, and the timeline you’ll transfer it on. Resist the urge to ask the departing employee to compose a hefty here’s-how-to-do-my-job manual. Too often the person doesn’t bother to write it up, and no one ever reads it. Instead, have another employee shadow the departing employee to learn as much as possible about the job. If you’re short on time and don’t have an identified successor, hold a meeting in which the departing employee shares stories with colleagues about how they handled problems and crises that arose during their tenure. The goal is to reveal insights into the expert’s thought process.

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