How do small-business owners let people go without missing a beat? How do they ensure their disrupted teams stay the course? We asked members of the Entrepreneurs' Organization to share their experiences and know-how.

Change your HR perspective.

"In these situations, I used to have the mindset that it was the employee leaving who was no good for me or my company, but I've realized I was looking at it all wrong! Oftentimes, employees aren't performing well, showing up on time, or treating co-workers right because the company isn't a good fit for them. This new perspective not only makes the transition less stressful but also helps the team realize the company cares whether employees fit in, not just what's getting done and who's on time."

-- Eric Griffin, co-founder, Clear-Coat; EO Philadelphia


Create a transition checklist.

"We focus on succession planning and take pride in being process driven. When people leave, we ensure a smooth transition within our internal team by following a 'transitional checklist.' This ensures that the outstanding duties will be allocated to the most suitable team members without overwhelming them or leaving the company lost."

-- Rishi Khanna, CEO, ISHIR; EO Dallas 


Get it over with.

"It's very difficult initially, but it's like pulling off a Band-Aid. Do it quick--it will hurt for a few seconds--then move on. It's really best for everyone that they move on with their lives and you move on with yours as soon as possible."

-- Jim Jacobs, president, Jacobs Realty Group; EO Philadelphia


Implement up-to-date protocols.

"My office is run by written protocol. These protocols are updated regularly to reflect our latest standards and expectations. When employees leave, their protocols are reassigned to their replacements, so they not only know what their job requirements are but how to fulfill them."

-- Philip Miller, CEO, Gotham Plastic Surgery; EO New York 


Hire the replacement first.

"To plan for a transition, I've hired a replacement before letting someone go. I've even had the person leaving train the new hire. This type of cross-training can be used effectively, but when the person leaving has a bad attitude, the negativity could affect others. Close supervision and a short, focused training period can help."

-- RJ Lewis, president and CEO, e-Healthcare Solutions; EO New Jersey