Alexander Graham Bell once said:

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

It’s hard to have team members leave our business.  People we invested in.  Invested time and money.  We trusted them … and now they’re gone.

Right or wrong …

Good or bad …

We still need to move forward and hire again.

It’s deflating.  It’s exhausting.  It’s hard to generate enthusiasm and hope again.

So how can we learn from this experience?  A dear mentor of mine told me to “Never waste a good crisis!”  And in this situation, it’s constructive to pause and look around before you jump into hiring another person.  What can you learn from this present situation?

This is the perfect time to do what I call, “Collect the Perspectives”.  To gain a 360⁰ perspective on the situation, ask those who worked with the previous employee, who were direct reports to this person, who managed projects they were involved in.  Talk to those who fed information to this employee; talk to those those who received information from this employee.

These people all have something that you, as the business owner, do not have … their own perspective on the ‘previous employee’.  This information is priceless but is often overlooked or ignored.

The central questions of this inquiry could be as simple as:
What did we do right? and …

What will we do differently?

Think about the 3 main areas this ‘previous employee’ impacted within your business.

  1. Their assigned tasks and responsibilities … most importantly how they affected the flow or delivery of your service, program or product. What went well, what could have gone better in how this employee affected service delivery?
  2. The “customer or client experience” in your business. Your customers/clients are precious, and you can begin to describe and improve how they need to be treated … both in customer-facing situations and non-customer-facing situations.  How did this employee impact your clients’ experience?
  3. The immediate work environment or culture of your business. Is your company culture productive?  Is it comfortable and safe? Does your business work environment support them (your employees/Team members) moving forward toward their life goals?

I encourage you to run a 360⁰ debrief after a team member unexpectedly leaves your business.  Keep it simple and brief:

  1. What did we do right?
  2. What will we do differently?

Use this new information to design a better hiring sequence, to ask better questions during new candidate interviews, to role play more specific situations with your new potential candidates as you again search for the right person.

Or as Jim Collins would encourage you … to start by putting the Right People in the Right Seats on the bus.  Every hire, you get closer to doing just that.

Leave a comment below and let me know which insights prove most valuable in your situation, by engaging your team members in this 360⁰ debrief process.  Which of the 3 pieces (service delivery, client experience or work environment) gave you the biggest insight into your current situation?