Can Your Business Survive the Death or Serious Illness of a Key Player?

Last Updated: 

January 27, 2023

Discover Real-World Success Stories

Experienced, trained, and loyal employees are an irreplaceable asset to any business. However, some employers are even more vital than others. And, if your business has reported the loss of a key player due to death or serious illness, you might be facing severe consequences. 

But will your organisation be able to survive this crisis? Although there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer, there are some strategies that can increase your business’s chances of survival. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Understand The Value of The Employee You’ve Lost

When it comes down to dealing with the aftermath of a wrongful death or serious illness of a key player, the first step is to assess your losses. If your employee has been within your organisation for months or years, you might be dealing with emotional consequences. 

However, it is also important to look at the roles and responsibilities that key employees used to cover. These might include:

  • Leadership 
  • Specialised or technical skills
  • Experience in an aspect of your business
  • A unique talent
  • Ownership in the organisation
  • Influence on decision-making

In small or family-run businesses, key players might also be part of the image of your business and have built invaluable personal relationships with local clients. 

Getting Compensation: Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If your employee has become a victim of intentional misconduct or negligence, holding negligent parties accountable and getting compensation for the damage caused are essential actions to take. 

Wrongful death claims are usually filed by close family members and relatives of the deceased. These lawsuits aim to recoup the damage caused by the death of that person, including financial, emotional, and psychological losses. 

Depending on the part your business has played in the death or illness of your employee, you should consider partnering with a legal team to either fight your corner to receive compensation or protect your organisation from a lawsuit. 

Surviving The Loss of a Key Player: What You Need To Know

The death or serious illness of a key player can have multiple effects on your business, most of which can be devastating without a contingency plan in place. 

Indeed, losing a key employee can affect the confidence and loyalty of local clients and suppliers, disrupt the efficient functioning of a business, and cause financial losses. So, how can you limit the damage that such a loss can cause? Start by using the strategies below. 

Minimise Damage By Replacing Your Employee 

As soon as your business is affected by the loss of a key player, you should kick start an efficient hiring process to replace your key player. Doing so can help your business keep running smoothly, redistribute the workload among the remaining team members, and keep the internal morale within your organisation high. 

When hiring a new employee, you should consider having a training program in place that allows you to minimise the initial friction and keep your business operational while dealing with the passing of a senior member of the team. 

Protect Your Business By Cultivating Talent

Waiting until the death of a key employee to devise a strategy that will help keep your business afloat is a reactive (and often inefficient!) approach. Instead, consider the benefits of developing a contingency plan in advance and cultivating new talent within your organisation before an emergency arises. 

Doing so can help you build the experience necessary in junior team members to one day match the human capital and organisational performance of key players. With this strategy, you’ll be able to seamlessly elect a suitable replacement for key players. 

Have a Succession Plan In Place or an Exit Strategy

Lastly, don’t forget to look at your business’s long-term strategy and decide on a succession plan or exit strategy. Indeed, losing a key player might irrevocably affect your business, in a way that will lead to a consistent decrease in sales and profit over time. 

If you believe that this is the case, you should consider having an exit strategy that accounts for selling or passing on your business before the loss of a key employee. If you are unsure how to devise such a critical strategy, consider working with a specialiesd consultant.

People Also Like to Read...

Don't forget to check out our Case Studies and also how Business Coaching can help your business. If you're ready to talk further and get the full coaching experience you can book a FREE 30-Minute Coaching Session.