By Mark Miller
It’s Tuesday morning. You’re sipping the day’s first cup of coffee and scrolling through the emails that piled up through the night when a key member of your marketing team appears in the doorway of your office. You invite them in.
They take a seat, then break the news; in two weeks they’ll be leaving for a new job.
What do you do?
The departure of an important member of the marketing team is a stressful event. But it has probably happened before, and it will undoubtedly happen again.
Unfortunately as marketing job recruiters, we too often see a manager or business leader respond negatively to news of a departure.
The worst thing you can do at this point is say or do something you’ll regret later. Don’t react emotionally if your immediate thoughts are anything other than excitement and congratulations. Hopefully you don’t feel any resentment or spite over the news. But if you do, keep it buttoned up.
This person might have been important to your future plans for the business or a mission-critical campaign that just launched. Perhaps they’re a long-tenured leader your company has relied on for years that could only be replaced by a senior marketing executive search.
You might even consider them a good friend.
But keep in mind above all that this is not a personal slight against you or your organization. Behave accordingly. After all, you never know what the future holds. You might end up working with this individual again in the future.
Act With Urgency
Don’t drag your feet once you’ve been alerted of a resignation. Two weeks should be plenty of time to transition your team member out. But you don’t exactly have a lot of wiggle room, either.
Your company almost certainly has a general established system for the processing of a resignation. Contact your HR team and initiate the applicable corporate processes.
Work with the departing employee to break the news to the rest of the department quickly and professionally. Don’t wait or try to hide the news–your team needs as much time as possible to say their goodbyes and get the necessary information for a smooth transition.
Perhaps most importantly, you need to start planning how you’ll fill that vacant seat. Will you hire a replacement? Promote the next person in line? Take the opportunity to restructure the team and try something new?
Whatever you decide, you need to figure out your plan quickly. Remember, every passing day without a key member of your team present is a day of lost potential ROI. And a departure means the rest of your team is stuck picking up the slack until you can fill the gap.
Enact Your Succession Plan
Your marketer probably had some essential responsibilities and knowledge that your organization can’t afford to lose. Begin the process of distributing tasks and expertise to the rest of your team and documenting the procedures and strategies your departing employee managed.
A transition plan for a marketing professional will have to vary depending on the nature of their role.
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