Saying goodbye - How to handle team members leaving
Managing transition and celebrating exits
I. Welcome back & follow up
Good Morning ☀️ I hope everyone had a great weekend. It’s been beautiful weather in Netherlands over the past several days. I was lucky to spend a lot of time outside chatting with friends enjoying copious amounts of wine in the sun 🍷
I received several comments on last weeks newsletter on diversity. Several of those asked about the implementation beyond racial diversity and really engaging in diversity of thought. I’ll follow up on that very soon - stay tuned.
This week is a bit of a different topic, as change is afoot in our Amsterdam Studio. On to this weeks writing!
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II. How to say goodbye when team members leave
It’s inevitable that people leave companies, but how you handle that transition will send a message to those who remain - and that matters for everyone involved.
Until last week.
We had our first employee given notice that she would be leaving in June for personal and professional reasons. It was a huge blow to the studio, and personally was difficult to handle given our pride in creating a great environment for our team.
I spent several days thinking of what to say to the team when she announced her exit. I knew it would be a big moment and take many by surprise. I felt it was important to express a message that both fit within our culture, and acknowledged that sometimes we can’t provide our team everything they may want within their career. Somewhat threading the needle - trying to carefully navigate a difficult message.
Below are the notes I outlined to prepare for what I would say. While this isn’t verbatim, it’s fairly close and I reviewed the outline several times before speaking with the team.
This was delivered at our weekly Friday morning meeting (FRIMO) directly after the individual announced she would leave the studio.
I thought it would be good to share thoughts on this transition.
This one is hard. It’s the first time someone has really left, and I had a long think on what to say given the situation.
When someone leaves a company, it’s for a variety of reasons - personal, work, career, location, etc. Individuals leave in order to fulfil a desire that can not be met at the moment. They see something in the future that can't be fulfilled at their current company.
We all know that over time, people’s priorities and drivers change and that leads to changes in their lives.
And if changing jobs, or anything else, brings then that desire and fulfilment they want, I think it’s something to celebrate. I have never wanted to have a person leaving be a somber event because to the person leaving, it's a moment of growth and positivity.
[Name withheld], I think you leaving, despite sad, is actually a reason for us to celebrate for you, and on behalf of you - for all of us supporting you in your life and what you want to do next.
I won’t make this lengthy - I’ll only say that [Name withheld], during your time here, you have had such an outsized and amazing impact on this studio. I was thankful for every day you were here, not just for your work, but your commitment to bring community into the studio. Your drive to make everyone feel connected and together, especially in the last year when we needed it the most.
It has been amazing to have you here, and I have to think whatever you choose to do next, you will be amazing at it as well.
I want to say thank you for allowing us the privilege to work with you for this past year. You're always welcome back, and whatever you do, we'll support you!
That’s all for this week.
Thank you for reading!