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My Key Employee Just Left - Now What?

My Key Employee Just Left - Now What?

"Oh, darn it! How could this happen again? Now we’re going to need a new VP of Operations,” Max, the CEO of Bark! told his Director of HR during their emergency meeting on Friday afternoon. “Can you believe this? She gave notice this morning and will be leaving in two weeks. How soon can you find me a suitable candidate to replace her?”

Buddy, the Director of HR, opened his mouth to answer, but Max was already interrupting.

“I’m hoping we already have someone in-house who can take on the job - we have 400 employees in our global pet food company, after all,” Max said. “That’d solve the time crunch.”

Buddy now snapped his mouth closed. He was so frustrated he knew he had to calm down first. Bark! had started as a Mom & Pop operation forty years before but had since grown into a complex organization with multiple divisions. Growth had come through acquisition, so not everyone was fully on-board with the Bark! culture. The truth was the company had trouble both recruiting new employees and retaining those they already had. And to top it off, the company had an antiquated Human Capital Management (HCM) system. Buddy had no idea if the company had a suitable candidate in-house. The problems just kept piling on.

Is this your situation? Or maybe that of someone you know very well?

Like Bark!, many companies have at least a basic HCM system. Most HCM systems process payroll and enroll employees in the company benefits programs. They record basic data on employees: their hire dates, salary, and benefits.

But today’s HCM systems can do far more, streamlining recruiting, facilitating retention, and planning the future. In the U.S., human resources professionals spend almost 14% of their time maintaining employee records. Let’s look at the key modules Bark! was missing and how these features could find loyal employees, boost productivity, and save the CEO from a costly search for a new VP of Operations.


In today’s world, with low unemployment and high competition for good people, companies need to develop and retain the employees they have worked hard to acquire. Instituting consistent reviews and analyzing performance will be key features of your HCM system.

  • Allow employees to do self-evaluation

  • Track high-performing individuals

  • Recognize and rate employee achievements and identify areas for improvement

  • Track historical reviews

  • Process performance feedback from multiple reviewers

  • Track disciplinary actions and schedule follow-up steps

Succession Planning

Your next VP of Operations could - and should - be on your payroll already. Your HCM system should be helping you plan and execute the routes of succession.

  • Provide individualized career path planning and counseling

  • Identify “high performers” based on your own metrics

  • Keep and search existing attributes and skills of employees to determine qualification for new positions and promotions

  • Track employees’ licenses and professional associations

  • Find, track, and compare individuals to identify potential successors for certain roles

  • Evaluate talent factors, such as leadership potential, performance, and promotability


Recruiting new talent can be time-consuming and frustrating when data is scattered or hard to gather. Your HCM system should be able to do the following:

  • Keep an archive of past applicants

  • Search for applicants according to your preferred criteria: degrees, equipment, skills, certifications, prior employers, zip codes

  • Automatically scan resumes

  • Keep a template of interview questions

  • Record the disposition of candidate interviews

In thinking about the features your company could use to attract, know, keep, and promote employees, does your HCM system give you the support you need?


Rubenstein / Justman Management Consultants (RJMC) works with you to quickly assess your current HCM environment and to help select and implement the best HCM system for your company. RJMC is an independent information systems and operations management consulting firm. Give us a call today at 310-445-5300 - We Get Projects Done!


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