When an employee leaves unexpectedly, especially one that you particularly like and who has been doing a good job, it’s easy for a manager to view hiring a replacement as an un-pleasurable, possibly daunting, task. Someone you like must be replaced, you wonder if you’ll ever get an employee quite as good as the one you lost, it’s a distraction from doing your “real” job, etc.

But this is the perfect time to take stock of the situation, seize the opportunity to create something new and hit that giant refresh button for your company or department. Here’s how . . . .

  • TAKE A DEEP BREATH, STEP BACK, AND LET YOURSELF CREATE – Think blank slate! Now is the perfect time to look at your department or group and think about potential changes. Ask yourself this question, “In an ideal world, what would be happening in my company/department?” By being open to considering all options, you’ll start thinking about what you really do want.
  • DON’T JUST REPLACE – REDESIGN – Now’s also the perfect opportunity to redesign your company or department. Do you really have the right structure or could you consider some changes? Allow yourself to ask questions like . . .
    • Should my outside sales people be replaced with inside sales?
    • Is my inside sales strategy working as well as I’d like?
    • Do I need to hire in remote locations to get better territory penetration?
    • Are my territories in line with my sales goals – are they working the way they should?
    • Do I have enough marketing people to support sales?
    • Are my digital marketing efforts state-of-the art and working?
    • Should I divide my salesforce by territory or industry-specific verticals?

You get the idea. Using a blank sheet of large format paper or whiteboard is ideal for this type of exercise.

  • ASSESS WHAT YOU’VE GOT – With your ideal scenario in mind, assess what you currently have “in stock” for talent. It may be that you have someone in your organization you can move over into your open spot. It may be that you’ll have to add two positions instead of one, or that you may even contract out some responsibilities.
  • NOW MAKE YOUR PLAN – With a clear idea of how you want your company or department to be structured and the responsibilities of each position in your group, you now have an idea of what (or rather who) you need to hire. Make a detailed hiring plan that includes all the resources you will use, a clear job description stating real goals and “deliverables,” a realistic compensation plan that will attract the talent that you need and a deadline date to have your employee in place. Align your hiring needs with your new plan and then try to enjoy the process you’ve just created.
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