5 risks related to employee departures: How to protect yourself?

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Employee departures are sometimes complicated to manage and hinder the smooth running of the company. What are the risks linked to these departures? What measures can be taken to anticipate them? How to ensure a good transition?


1 | Break in continuity

When an employee leaves, there is a risk that their activities will be interrupted. Depending on the position held, the cessation of activity can be detrimental to the company. To avoid this situation, it is first necessary to identify the activities that present a risk of interruption of continuity. Preventive measures must then be put in place, such as describing sensitive activities and keeping job descriptions up to date so that the new employee can be quickly integrated. Emergency measures must also be defined if the recruitment does not take place immediately, such as a list of external staff who can take over the activity at short notice.


2 | Loss of company memory

Some employees who have been with the company for years become the company’s memory. They are often the only ones to carry out certain activities, to know the history of a customer or a product, as well as the successes and failures of the company. In case of departure, it is sometimes difficult to take over the activity. To reduce this risk, it is essential to describe the activities in a procedure book. This will facilitate the work of the replacement person, who will be able to ensure the smooth running of the activities. In addition, the creation of a knowledge base will make it possible to keep track of all useful history.


3 | Loss of customers

In some sectors, the customer relationship or the personality of the employee is crucial. For example, in health or personal care, catering, legal or financial advice, etc. When an employee leaves, it is then essential to organize a good transition to keep the customers and ensure their complete satisfaction. In this case, it is important to reassure the client and guarantee that the service will be taken over and provided with the same level of quality. The handover can be done by scheduling at least one meeting between the client, the departing employee and the future replacement.


4 | Loss of confidential data

Whether voluntarily or not, employees may take data belonging to the company with them when they leave (production methods, customer lists, financial results, etc.). To prevent this risk, the company usually includes a confidentiality clause in the employment contract and can adopt an information security charter. But it is also key to raise awareness among employees on an ongoing basis by communicating the best practices to adopt when traveling or exchanging data, for example. These measures protect both the employees and the company.


5 | Deterioration of the internal atmosphere

Throughout the working relationship, bonds are formed between colleagues. When someone leaves the company, employees may be upset and worried about the future organization. The management must announce and explain clearly the departure. It can then present its vision for the future and possibly the new organization. It is very useful to describe the process of departure of an employee or the recruitment process in order to get through this phase with peace of mind and to focus on human relations.


Updated at 29 November 2022

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