Last week, some disappointing news came from this newspaper when it was announced that Teresa Robinson, Community Relations Manager, and Bill Regan, Deputy Managing Editor-Business, would be leaving the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News.
I was dismayed by the news. Robinson and Regan are talented individuals who have contributed so much to the Union Leader as well as our community. I've worked directly with Regan for more than five years of Closing the Deal columns, and have known Teresa for just as long.
It's unfortunate that they chose to leave, but it's certainly a decision they can't be faulted for.
At the end of the day, we all make decisions that are best for our career and family. Regardless of what career choices people make, we have to be respectful that we all have the ability to do the same. The ball is always in our court and it's important to always keep that in mind. It's business, never personal.
Regardless of where Teresa and Bill go, I know they will be successful in whatever they choose to do. I sincerely wish them both the best and consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with them. I'm confident the Union Leader has the ability to recruit talented individuals to take their place.
The news, however, makes me think about how companies handle these situations. It's never easy to see someone choose to go somewhere else. In most cases, when someone voluntarily leaves an organization, they were presented with an opportunity they felt was better for them, professionally and personally. It's not a knock on the company, those things just happen.
But it's most important for companies to recognize that people leaving is something that must be accepted, dealt with and planned for. The worst case scenario is when someone very important to the company leaves and major gaps and holes are left behind.
Although there are people who have more responsibility than others, there should never be a point of failure anywhere within an organization. It's common for people to hoard information so their value to the organization increases, but it's the company's responsibility to ensure one person doesn't hold critical knowledge exclusively.
In addition to having plans to cover the person's responsibilities when they leave, companies need to put some serious thought into how they will backfill the vacant position. Are they going to search for the replacement externally? Or do they have a good bench of qualified candidates who know the role and could get ramped up and productive quickly?
Often, the response is piling more work on others while the company figures out what to do. That is never the best answer.
Companies that understand the impact of attrition have a well thought-out succession plan. Managers and leaders within an organization should ask this question about every critical position. “If this person leaves tomorrow, what will we do?” It's important to have a plan in place and know exactly what will happen if this situation occurs.
The reality is, everyone is replaceable. No matter how good you are or how much you do, a company with good organizational structure and leadership will have plans in place to prevent a catastrophic situation from occurring just because someone chooses to leave.
Thompson (email@example.com) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the New Hampshire Sunday News.