People come and go….
But it doesn’t make it any easier when you lose a key team member, I’ve been there myself.
Recruitment can take time – and clients will still expect a high standard of service.
So you need to be efficient and take decisive action.
Here’s the 5-step action plan for when key staff members leave your #accountancy practice…
1. Conduct An Exit Interview
One of your first priorities needs to be arranging and conducting an exit interview.
It’s really important that you ask questions and get to the bottom of why they are moving on.
Here are some examples of the questions you should be asking:
- “What motivated you to move on?”
- “Was there anything I could have done to improve your time with us?”
- “Is there anything which would compel you to stay with us”
- “What did you enjoy the most about working with us?”
Of course, the reason for the staff departure will determine the kind of questions you ask.
But it’s important to get constructive feedback where possible to prevent any problems down the line with your remaining team members and new hire.
2. Ensure There’s A Smooth Handover
Identifying the key responsibilities of the employee is a crucial step in ensuring a smooth handover when they leave.
Recruiting someone new may take time, so it’s important that tasks are delegated before the employee’s notice period is up.
One way of doing this is by asking the employee to create a handover plan.
This needs to include what tasks they’re going to handover, to who, and by when.
You can then hold them accountable to making this happen and you can also ensure it’s completed before their notice period is up.
The process may involve reshuffling your team structure to accommodate, and you may also find that some of the tasks can continue to be the responsibility of current team members after the employee has left.
But the sooner you start the handover process, the better you’ll understand the role you need a new employee to take on.
3. Communicate With Your Team
With the introduction of a handover plan some of your team will have to pick up the slack until you rehire.
So, it’s vital that you maintain good communication and keep honest and open about what’s going on.
If you’ve conducted an exit interview, you should have useful feedback at your disposal.
And you can use this to ensure your remaining staff aren’t experiencing any similar pains or issues.
It’s a good idea to arrange 1-1 check-in’s with team members so you can ask about how they are getting on and if there’s anything you can do to improve things.
4. Form An Awesome Recruitment Plan
So once you’ve got to the bottom of why the staff member is leaving and put a short term delegation plan in place you need to put the wheels in motion to recruit a new A+ employee.
And if you’ve got a clear handover plan in place you should have a clear sense of what position you need to advertise for and the criteria required for an individual to fill the role.
In order to hire someone capable of replacing the team member leaving, you need to not only ensure they have the skillset but are also the right fit.
You can do this by putting together a ‘hiring team’ to go through the process with you.
This could be other Partners, your Practice Manager or even other members of your team in a similar role.
Involving your current team plays on the sense of team culture and shows consideration of your workplace as a good social environment too.
Your ‘hiring team’ can then work with you in:
- Creating a concise, attractive job advertisement
- Forming an interview agenda and format
- Narrowing down applications numbers to pinpoint quality prospects
To help you along the way, here is a 3-step process for recruiting top performers in a 21st century practice.
5. Don’t Panic Hire!
It’s an old cliché, but it’s timeless advice.
Hire slow, fire fast.
Rushing to fill the role risks bringing your A+ Team average down significantly by hiring the wrong person for the job.
If you’ve followed all the previous steps you should have a plan in place to prevent any impact on work turnaround or your clients.
And you should have your team behind you and supporting you throughout the recruitment process.
It’s so easy as practice owner to take things personally and want a quick fix, but as Richard Branson once said: “Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity”