Exit Planning Begins at On-Boarding
Paula Bradison, CEO PeopleAK

hether planning for retirement, eliminating a position, or resigning gracefully, employee exits can be difficult. Although, as business leaders, we know “it happens,” we still put the planning and process of managing employee exits “on the shelf” until we need it. Frequently senior staff is called upon to terminate employment when it comes time to part ways. In that scenario, while we have policies, procedures, and processes, the actual execution of dismissal relies heavily on the experience and finesse of the manager. We suggest there is a better way.

  1. Strategic Recruitment: Know, anticipate, and plan annually around your historical and forecasted attrition rate. It is better to scout for your next new hire before you need them.
  2. Train—Train—Train and Repeat: Work with managers and team leads to identify the next best talent already working for you— and start training them NOW. Provide them with consistent and regular feedback. Without overwhelming already highproducing employees, include them on special assignments where mentorship and on-the-job training are a natural by-product.
  3. Promote Teams: Play to the strengths of your team. Move away from the philosophy of focusing on “areas of improvement” and instead exercise team strengths. Risk mitigation strategies are important where deficiencies may lie, but don’t take your starting quarterback and say, “Hey, you should be a better goalie.” You might just have a star player in the wrong position?
  4. Celebrate Growth: Whether your employee is departing the company for a new opportunity or greener grasses in retirement, your PAST employee might be your next best referral for talent or—better yet—your next best customer. Importantly, also celebrate and encourage the growth of your current employees. They are the future of your success.
  5. Provide Stability: Honor and create workflows around supporting the employees still with you. Consider the vacancy an opportunity to revisit how you’ve always done things, including your recruitment strategy. While we ALL want work/life balance, we grieve a little when an adored co-worker exits—even when it’s best for all concerned. By stopping to ask your existing employees, “What can we do better,” they may have some great ideas for getting back to business!

Starting with their first day at work, develop and communicate what an exit strategy is—succession planning begins from day one and is a great way to future-proof your business.

Paula Bradison, CEO
Paula Bradison

For more information about PeopleAK, please visit For AES please visit, for BMG please visit, or call 907-276-5707.

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