Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

5 Ways to Handle Employee Turnover

5 Ways to Handle Employee TurnoverOne of the most discouraging things for a manager within a startup company can be employee turnover.  There are little things more discouraging than spending your time searching for the perfect candidates, spending hours training them, only to have them leave a year later for an opportunity that your startup is not able to compete with. 

If you feel that your small business has a revolving door when it comes to your employees, there are several ways you can handle this turnover and become all the wiser for it.

1. Be Prepared

The most important thing for you to do is to always be prepared for any of your employees to turn in their resignation.  This is not to say that they will all resign.  I simply mean that you should never stop the interviewing process for any position at your startup.

By proactively recruiting, it will make things much easier for you in the long run if one of your employees does resign. It is much better to have a growing pipeline of candidates to consider rather than starting from scratch when you have only two weeks or less to find a replacement.

In addition to having a proactive recruiting plan in place, you should also think about your company’s process once an employee has turned in their resignation.  Many companies are now encouraging managers to work with the employee to conduct a pass down of work and information, and then have the employee immediately leave the office with two weeks of pay.

This may sound cruel, but for many sales positions this is critical.  Also, if the resigning employee happens to be bitter, it will only prove cancerous to your company environment by allowing that employee to stay on with the company.  After all, the employee has decided for some reason that he does not want to work at your business anymore.  When it comes to this process, companies do different things and you simply need to go with your gut instinct on this one and put a plan in place.

2. Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions when an employee resigns.  Ask them where they are going, finding out as much as you can about their decision to leave your company.  Perhaps the employee has had a change of heart and wants to do something completely different in another industry.  Maybe the new position is a step up or more of a challenge.

The more you talk to the employee and the more you understand, the more knowledge you will gain regarding anything that you or your company could have done differently to have kept the employee on board.

3. Check out the competition

If you discover that your employee is leaving to go to a company in the same or similar industry, you must begin your research.  Find out as much as you can about the company from the internet and anyone who may be familiar with the company.  What does the company offer that your small business doesn’t?

As Entrepreneur states, learning how a company has attracted your employee’s attention can be valuable information.  Are you able to compete when it comes to large corporate salaries or promotions?  Perhaps not in all areas, but it is always helpful to learn new ideas and incentives that other companies have in place so that you can make some changes, ensuring that you are creating an environment that your employees enjoy and do not want to leave.

4. Discuss with your employees

When one of your employees resigns, communication to your team and company is imperative.  Make sure that your staff understands that a fellow coworker is leaving and that you wish the employee all the best in their new venture.

This is not the time to be secretive and hide behind closed doors.  Approaching the situation in this manner only feeds office gossip and encourages an environment of poor communication.

When your employees see a co-worker leaving, it can cause a domino effect.  What you don’t want to happen is for your employees to feel left out or undervalued.  Make sure you are valuing your employees by keeping them in the loop.

5. What else?

Entrepreneur points out the importance of having a staff that feels valued.  When you have a steady rate of turnover, you must ask yourself if you are truly valuing your employees and showing them appreciation.

Ask yourself, “What could I do differently?”

Take a look at your compensation plans and employee evaluation process.  If you are unable to make any changes at the moment to compensation plans, what else could you do?  Consider implementing team luncheons, happy hours, or coffee breaks once a month.  Realize that sometimes it takes more than just money for your employees to feel valued.  A simple “thank you” and “good job” can go a long way.

How have you handled employee turnover in your small business?  Please share your tips and suggestions in the comments below.

Image: Jakub Jirsak/

Julia Weeks

Julia is a skilled Recruiter with over 8 years of experience in sourcing, interviewing, and hiring within many industries globally. She works closely with hiring managers and job seekers to understand needs and desires, while offering guidance and ensuring the right fit. When not recruiting or writing, Julia enjoys spending time outside cycling, taking her dog for walks, or honing her sailing skills.