How to keep your big project going, even after key team members leave - Deepstash
How to keep your big project going, even after key team members leave

How to keep your big project going, even after key team members leave

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Key employees that quit

Key employees that quit

The pandemic has revealed that remote and hybrid teams can be very productive. One report found that 83% of employers said remote work has been successful.

But then the Great Resignation began. Statistics show that anywhere from 26% to 55% of U.S. employees plan to quit their jobs, meaning momentum can be lost on projects and productivity. Therefore, it is vital for companies to find ways to mitigate these issues.


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Plan like it's going to happen

The chances are that you will lose a key employee at the worst possible time.

  • At the outset, consider how you're going to capture information, so it's widely available. When the loss happens, inform the entire team at the same time to limit rumours.
  • Determine how you'll keep new and existing team members informed of the project's purpose, how it fits into organisation goals, and how you'll share information across disciplines. That way, it's easier to bridge the gap when someone leaves.


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Build redundancy

It is necessary to build in cross-training and backup for each key role on the team. That way, you have one or two other people within the discipline that can step up to fill the position.

It's a good idea to have sessions where team members find out more about the roles of team members in other positions and departments. That can help to get a new team member up and running faster and facilitate collaboration and brainstorming.


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Always be succession-planning

As you cross-train team members, ensure to keep your talent bench deep. Then, when a high-impact team member leaves, another candidate can be ready to overlap and replace them.

Consider a clear plan on what you want the transition to look like in terms of content knowledge that you expect for the new leader to develop, the necessary individual relationships, and the most critical potential fail points for the project.


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Create a clear and comprehensive information trail

Capture enough information about why decisions have been made, the next steps, and who is accountable for them. Best practices include:

  • Determine the frequency of the meetings for effective information-sharing and schedule them.
  • Capture meeting notes, including the reason for the decision, the next steps, and the person responsible.
  • Use uniform collaboration tools (Slack, Asana, Monday, etc.) to track project steps, progress, communication, and outcomes.
  • Establish a communication hierarchy so the team has norms about where information can be found.


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Perform triage if you need it

If you're leading a team and a key member is leaving, don't try to solve the issue by yourself. Instead, involve HR and a set of cross-functional peers. Look at what's required for the role and brainstorm about who could best fill the position. They may recommend someone you’ve never thought of.

Document the most immediate team needs and actions, and identify who can fill those roles. It may be possible to hire temporary or freelance help to fill gaps.


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Trust is an overlooked asset

Team members may keep information to themselves if they feel some threat in the organisational culture.

Organisations should work to establish a culture of trust to help employees feel they can share knowledge. Part of trust-building is giving employees a sense of ownership and autonomy, so they feel valued.


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“Efficiency is doing better that what is already being done.” Peter Drucker


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