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Reacting to a Critical Team Member Who Wants to Quit

Handling Promotion
Career Path
Company Culture

13 December, 2018

Radhesh Gupta, engineering manager at Survey Monkey, shares a personal experience of a one on one meeting that quickly shifted into one of his critical team members discussing his reasoning for wanting to quit.

Problem

One of my critical team members had summoned me to a quick five-minute meeting. While we went for a walk, which is how I generally conduct my one on one meetings, he expressed interest in transitioning roles, to work for an outside startup company. He wanted to consider it as an option, but was also an integral part of my team that I was not ready to lose.

Actions taken

  • I set out on a quest to understand the motive of why he wanted to seek employment elsewhere. This particular employee had been on this project for a long time and was hungry for a new challenge. He had high aspirations for increased growth and ownership.
  • Seeing that he hadn't fully made up his mind, I decided to work with him instead of against him. Together, we mapped out the benefits he would receive at his new job and what he would be losing from his current job with us.
  • Working closely with my director, we found a new role for him within the company, separate from my team.

Lessons learned

  • It is important to make the employee feel like you are on their side and not just trying to retain him, but actually helping him through the decision making process.
  • Although easily overlooked, you should not think solely about the wellness of your team, but beyond, to the wider scope of the company and employee.
  • The employee ended up staying committed to our company in his new role as part of my sister team. He is not only owning it end to end, but challenging himself, as well as, remaining a crucial point of reference for everyone.

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