Don’t panic…protect, when someone quits

If you watched the Super Bowl last month, you may have noticed a Go Daddy commercial and a woman named Gwen Dean, surrounded by puppets. She quit her job, with no notice, on national television to pursue her dream of becoming a puppet master. While those of us watching at home may have been cheering inside for her bravery and boldness, what do you think her boss was doing at home? Probably getting slightly panicked, as all managers do when an employee quits.

Losing a member of your team is always hard. We’ve all heard horror stories about employees stealing clients, proprietary information, and even money.

But even if those things don’t occur, there are many other facets of your business that could quickly fall through the cracks. Knowing exactly what each team member was working on, and was responsible for, will help you pick up the pieces before it’s too late.

Having processes documented (as we discussed in another blog) is key. Knowing the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks of each team member, and figuring out what needs to happen to make sure the business doesn’t suffer going forward.


Since the first thing you might do is PANIC when you lose a team member, just use those letters to help you remember some things you need to do right away.

Passwords: Change all of them. And if your security questions or other components could be figured out by your former team member, change those, too.

Ask the team member why they left, if you are still on good terms. The feedback may help you become a better manager and owner, and understand if communication is a problem.

Notify clients of the team change. If Mr. X was excepting Jane Doe at the presentation meeting, and suddenly John Doe walks in, it could scare him off. Keep everyone up to date, and make sure they are comfortable and understand the changes.

Ignore the guilt. You can’t get down on yourself if a team member quits. Often we take it very personally, when in fact, there could be a variety of factors in play.

Cancel credit cards and get new ones. Even if you don’t find it likely they will use them, it’s always best to be safe.

Having things in place before you lose a team member will make the transition much easier.

Here’s the Top 4 most important ones:

    • Independent Contractor Agreement (get a lawyer)

    • Secure way of sharing passwords (Lastpass)

    • Have a solid onboarding process so the team knows your business and core values

    • Set the right expectation, so there is no confusion on what they are expected to do

      Change brings with it the potential for new opportunities and innovation. At what first may seem like an irreplaceable loss, could turn into something wonderful. Talented people are all around us, and we need to find the ones that fit into the puzzle of our business. The right pieces together can truly make a masterpiece. 

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