A Contract Manager’s Checklist for When an Executive Leaves the Company

A Contract Manager’s Checklist for When an Executive Leaves the Company

by admin
November 8, 2019

Employee turnover is hard for any company. Not only is it expensive (for a senior-level executive, it could cost more than twice their annual salary to replace them), it can leave you scrambling to handle the processes that executive normally deals with. Unfortunately, turnover is a reality of business operation. Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, you just can’t keep an executive from leaving your company. In order to keep things running as smoothly as possible, however, it’s important to have a checklist in place that will let you know what to do when an executive leaves the company. Not only is it just good practice, but it can also help you keep your contract management process moving according to schedule. Learn more about the nine stages of solid contract management to see where your company’s executives fit in. Then put these steps into practice today.


1. Have backup approvers already in place.

Many times, your executives are the ones responsible for handling details like negotiated terms and pricing. Long before an executive chooses to leave your company, you need backup approvers in place. These are individuals within the company who:

  • Understand your normal processes.
  • Know how you do things.
  • Are willing to take on the burden of that responsibility. 

These individuals should receive training in things like contract risk assessment and how to put together an effective contract. If the day comes when they need to handle those approval processes, they should already know what to do.

If you don’t have those individuals in place before you receive notice that an executive is leaving, start the training process as soon as possible. Keep in mind that it could take weeks or months to replace an executive member of the company, even if you start the search process immediately. You may want to train multiple individuals to take on those vital job tasks, including contract approval. A single individual probably cannot add all of an executive’s assignments to their own list of responsibilities. 

2. Automate what you can. 

When an executive leaves, you may be scrambling to take on many of their responsibilities. This is the perfect opportunity to take a look at your contract management processes. See what tasks you can automate so they don’t fall onto another executive’s plate. Automation doesn’t just stop potential emergencies before they start. It’s an essential element of excellent contract management. Optimize your contract management software to be as effective as possible — with as little input from your team as possible. 

3. Make a list of the executive’s specific responsibilities. 

Your contract management software likely already takes care of much of the contract management process for you. But how much of it? How many of those processes are already automated by your contract management software? What processes, including signing, approvals, or audit management, will need to be handled by others?

When an executive has been with your company for a long time, it may surprise you just how many tasks they take care of on a daily basis. They might manage tasks for both contract approval and contract administration. Before they leave, have them list out their responsibilities and the contributions they make to the contract management process. Then, make sure that you have other individuals in place to handle those responsibilities. 

4. Revoke the executive’s permissions. 

It doesn’t matter how trustworthy the individual who used to work for your company is. They are no longer a member of your team. Make sure you go into all of the company’s programs, including your contract management software, and revoke access and permissions. You do not want a former executive to have access to your company’s vital records and information. Even if it’s unlikely, you don’t want the potential liability that they can steal information or change it in the future. 

Many companies mistakenly maintain the executive’s permissions after the executive leaves. This allows other members of the team to use the former employee’s login information until that position has been filled. Unfortunately, that can leave gaping security holes in your organization. It allows lower-level employees access to information that only executives should have. Before you revoke permissions, however, make sure those tasks have been assigned to someone else. Also, create a plan for handling those processes in the interim. Alternatively, consider assigning tasks to a “role” instead of a person so you can assign that role to different people over the years.

5. Communicate with your remaining team.

When an executive leaves, especially one who has responsibility for things like contract approval, your team may be left floundering. Communicate clearly with the team and make sure they know who has those new responsibilities and who they need to talk to so that you can keep your business running smoothly — and contract approval flowing as normal — while you wait to replace that role.

Losing an executive member of your team can be difficult for your company, especially if you must struggle to replace him. Fortunately, with these steps, you can keep your contract approval process moving even with a missing team member. 

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