How would you handle an employee resigning during a critical time period?

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose.  I am a speaker and author. I am an expert in time and project management.

I help busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable and have time to enjoy life even if they don’t have time to learn new technology or train their staff.  I have a knack for turning big ideas into on time and profitable projects.

At the end of the day, I transform the way you run your business into a business you love to run.

Today’s comment came from a busy business owner

How would you handle an employee resigning during a critical time period?

My client came to me desperately when an employee of his resigned last week with only one month notice. His resignation came very sudden and suspicious. This is because in the upcoming 2 months there are many critical deliverables that need to be done by this employee. The resignation comes in three forms – a) we cannot deliver in time; b) the employee is running away from responsibility; c) even if we get new person in fast, there is still learning curve required.

My client is at loss, he started the recruitment process immediately, but we knew it is not easy to find someone exceptional very fast. I’m in a very tough position as well, as I feel his pain and understand he needs to find someone to fill the position as soon as possible.

What will you do if you face the case?

The first thing YOU should do is not to feed his panic. This is no different than someone having to leave for an emergency, or the team accepting another high profile project when the team already has a full plate. In short – this is a project management issue. And you should approach the client in a calm manner.
And – in my opinion – it’s not logical to try to force the “leaving employee” who is already burned-out and has a short-term mindset train another expert and complete 2 months of work in 20 days. I don’t feel that’s a winning game plan. Instead of having your short-term employee complete his work; devise your hand-off plan.  Have this employee document their current processes and items left to-do.  Determine which team member will be handling the remaining to-do items.  Those team members are now part of the hand-off process.   They take over “now” while the short-term employee is available to consult.
I don’t know the industry or market you are working with – so these other solutions will be general in nature. Setup an appointment with me to discuss more detail solutions that are better aligned with your specific situation.

Regardless of the industry, your schedule will be affected.  You will need to either add resources, reduce the project scope, add time or reduce the quality.

There are several project management options:
1) Reduce the scope of the deliverables to fit the current resources.
2) Reduce the complexity of the solution to fit the current resources and talent.
3) Release early and often to the end-client (your client’s client). Give then end-user early drafts, demos and releases as the project progresses. Because the end-user is frequently receiving and reviewing the progress, they can tell you which features they really need by XX date, and which features they can wait on. Then schedule the features as the user needs them (versus all at once).
4) Studies show that end-users only use 36% of the entire product. Find out the features the end-user are actually going to use and postpone (reschedule the others for maintenance releases).
5) Accept the knowing that the product is never “done” – there are always going to be maintenance and improvement cycles. Make better use of the rolling delivery cycles.

Last tip is to never make someone “indispensable” – always have pair-training, pair-testing, and a buddy system. I am not recommending that everyone has to be able to do the same things at the same quality. But you should have various team members knowledgeable about other people’s areas such that they can stand-in or help out.

I know your situation is different. Why don’t we schedule an appointment, where I get to know more about your unique situation? And then I will be happy to make recommendations on what your best steps are moving forward. To schedule an appointment, book it HERE.

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

I have a monthly presentation on “how to say YES to everything but on your own terms”. To sign up for the complimentary course, go to

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