Losing a high-performing employee is not a good feeling. In fact, it is hard to not take it personally. And on top of that, the cost of replacing a skilled employee is estimated at 213 percent the cost of the employee’s annual salary.

No matter how strong your culture is and what you are doing to increase retention and employee engagement, turnover happens. As with many negative parts of owning a business, there are some things you can learn from a great employee leaving your company. A recent article from Inc. gives some great advice for making the most of this tough situation.

Conduct a thoughtful exit interview.

Exit interviews can be a great way to get some feedback on the employee experience. Ensure the employee that you want to hear their candid responses. Ask questions that will help you get to the root of the reason the employee is making a change. Perhaps it is additional pay or benefits, a shorter commute, or more opportunity for advancement. Even if it something like relocation or going back to school, you can gain valuable insights into the experience the employee had and their suggestions for improvement.

Avoid becoming defensive

Your goal in an exit interview is to listen, not to defend. If the employee is leaving, you do not need to try and defend of justify any of the practices that the employee provides constructive criticism on. You don’t have to agree with what the employee is saying. Ask follow-up questions if you don’t understand, and then just move on. Use a standardized questionnaire to keep yourself on track and asking the questions that matter. Be sure to thank the employee for their feedback.

Act on what you learn

Exit interviews are a waste of everyone’s time if you don’t do anything with the information you gather. That is not to say you have to change everything just because one employee left and complained. Take the information into consideration when looking to improve employee retention, but don’t let it keep you up at night.

Take the to opportunity to learn everything you can from losing a great employee by following these three simple guidelines. Share them with the leaders in your organization so that you have a plan for handling this tough situation. If you have questions about handling exit interview, employee separations, or any other tough HR situations, contact our Helpside HR experts at humanresources@helpside.com.