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I'm the IT Director (CIO) for a team of approximately 40 people. My organization prides itself on treating employees well, and many of my team members have been here for 10 years or more, progressing through different roles as openings arise. It's a tight-knit group that works very well together. I have been in this position for only 18 months, having been hired from outside; the previous (very beloved) IT Director is now COO and has been with the firm for 25 years.

I have 7 managers and one Assistant Director on my team. Since I arrived, one manager has left to pursue a large promotion at another firm (Director-level). A few months later, my Assistant Director, who has had a long-term plan to retire to Florida, announced that she would be moving later this year. Last week, another manager announced that he was leaving.

I believe that it's important to reassure my staff that these events aren't connected, and that I'm not trying to get rid of the old management team in order to install my own. How can I do this most effectively without seeming to be defensive?

EDIT: As a followup, I was able to promote from within for this position. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

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    One way to reassure it to promote from within. – paparazzo Jun 18 '15 at 13:18
  • Joe, there may be a few people that are concerned. I don't get the impression that it's widespread. On the other hand, I don't want any individual anxiety to spiral into a larger problem. – Roger Jun 18 '15 at 13:57
  • @Blam, excellent point. I prefer to promote from within when there is an internal candidate that's a good fit. – Roger Jun 18 '15 at 14:02
  • I don't really see how someone retiring and someone pursuing a large promotion/rare opportunity is worrisome. – Edwin Lambregts Jun 18 '15 at 14:04
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    Another thing that can go a long way towards your goal is to praise the work of the people who are leaving or have left. To me, it is really revealing what people say of departed staff when there is nothing to be gained or lost by saying it. If you speak highly of their accomplishments even after they're gone, your staff will know you respected their work and will understand you weren't out to "clean house." – Wesley Long Jun 23 '15 at 13:52
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As @Blam commented:

  1. Find strong successors from within the ranks and have them become candidates for promotion - Turn a crisis into an opportunity.

  2. Have the departing managers write a statement endorsing the value of the firm, that the firm treated them fairly.In those cases where the reasons for departure were personal, have the managers state that the reasons for their departure were personal.

  3. Keep the lines of communication open: let all staff and management know that you are available to speak with them if they have any questions.

  4. Emphasize that everyone is doing good work, and that you're thankful for their work and that they are here for the firm.

  5. And no, you don't have any intention to leave - so let them know "Don't even think of gunning for my position :)"

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    I agree with all but #2. I wouldn't ask a departing employee to write a statement like this. If I ever had to do this for some reason, the circumstances would be exceptional and I would not want to share the results with my team. – Roger Jun 18 '15 at 19:31
  • @Roger I would ask, but with the understanding that the departing manager is free to say "no". My argument to the departing manager is that their impending departure is causing unintended ripples, and that we should take care of those ripples. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jun 18 '15 at 20:11
  • @Roger - The OP indicated that this is a close group, so I would think everyone would want to send out a good-bye email. You're right, if it is known that you ask everyone to do it and someone chooses not to, it will be assumed they're leaving in unfavorable circumstances. – user8365 Jun 23 '15 at 13:59
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You company "prides itself on treating employees well" but how do you verify that statement? Do employees think this is a false pride?

You have a "tight-knit group" and it appears people are leaving on good terms and at least one person took a promotion. Make a formal announcement that someone is leaving and include the reason if the employee agrees. Maybe people want to write their own good-bye letter to the team. I've been at companies that throw a going-away party.

If what you say is true, you don't have a problem. Although the team may get along, your company may need to do a better job letting everyone know they are financially solid and what the future plans are. If people even think they're looking for a buy-out and the company isn't open about it (These things get tricky and often negotiations are required to be held private.), there's not much you can do about it. Some employees like working for a company that is taking a risk and others don't. The key is the confidence level of what they know.

  • everyone here places a lot of emphasis on company culture and making this a good place to work. It's very unusual within our industry and everyone in the senior leadership ranks (including me) takes a lot of pride in it. Financial stability is not a concern in our case either. – Roger Jun 24 '15 at 13:42

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