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What to Do When Your Best Employee Quits

Editorial Note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone.

More U.S. workers are quitting their jobs than ever before, according to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over 2% of the total working population (some 3.5 million people) voluntarily resigned from their jobs in October 2018 alone. With turnover rates increasing every year, businesses everywhere are being affected by the loss of top-performing employees.

Employee turnover has a huge impact on businesses around the world –– perhaps most strongly on small businesses and startups. In fact, this turnover can cost an organization as much as 213% of the lost employee’s salary. Small businesses could be at significant risk if even one strong employee quits.

Turnover will likely affect your small business at some point, but how should you handle it when your best employee tells you they are leaving for another job opportunity? Certain best practices, including conducting exit interviews and sending company-wide announcements, can help you effectively manage the loss of a star team player and learn from the experience in the process.

Of course, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of your employees looking for outside opportunities. Keep in mind these things to minimize your chances of losing a great employee:

  • A positive company culture plays a major role in the general happiness and job satisfaction of your team.
  • A healthy work-life balance will keep your team’s stress levels low and will keep them from becoming burned out.
  • Show your team they are valued by offering additional benefits like learning opportunities, conferences, and team-building activities.

If your best employee tells you they are resigning, the first thing you should do is to stay calm. It’s crucial not to panic or react impulsively in any situation involving your employees. Use this moment as an opportunity to learn from your employee and improve your small business in the future to prevent other top employees from quitting.

If a top employee resigns, it’s not the end of the world for your small business. While you may experience a short dip in company morale or productivity, there are steps you can take to minimize a negative impact on your business. One of the best things you can do to increase morale and productivity is to find and hire a great replacement for the departing employee.

Remember to approach any interactions with your employees in a positive, upbeat way and use the opportunity to learn more about your team members, their satisfaction with your company, and your performance as a manager.


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Meredith Wood

Meredith Wood

Meredith Wood is the founding editor of the Fundera Ledger and a vice president at Fundera. She launched the Fundera Ledger in 2014 and has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending. She is a monthly columnist for AllBusiness, and her advice has appeared in the SBA, SCORE, Yahoo, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, American Banker, Small Business Trends, MyCorporation, Small Biz Daily, StartupNation, and more. Email: