Ways To Handle Employee Resignations

You’ve never been more satisfied with your business’ performance. You’ve hired an amazing, diversified team of people that are going above and beyond. You’ve also managed to build a stellar corporate culture, based on effective communication, continuous collaboration, and mutual understanding. Everything seems to be going fine until your star worker comes into your office one day and utters the notorious “I need to talk to you about something” phrase.

We’ve all gone through that. However, losing an employee vital to your business is never easy. You may not only fail to deliver your projects on time, but also lose the experience they’ve acquired while they were working for you. This means that you will also need to find an adequate replacement for them as soon as possible and invest a lot in helping them gain the knowledge needed. Not to mention that a single person’s resignation may affect the performance of your entire team.

But, before you start screaming “How can you do that to me,” you need to calm your horses and react thoughtfully. By handling a surprise resignation this way, you will successfully handle the potential problems that might come up and set a strong example for your team.

Here is how to do so.

Hear Them Out

Always make sure you listen to an employee and try to understand why they’re leaving your company. This approach will not only help you leave a good impression and show how professional you are, but it may also serve as an amazing feedback. Namely, by hearing them out, you will actually gain an invaluable insight into the most common problems your employees face, as well as be able to resolve these problems in the near future.

For example, if they say that they want to give their career a boost, this could mean that you don’t provide your employees with adequate career advancement opportunities. You may consider organizing employee development programs, such as in-house training courses and seminars that will help them learn more about the industry and take their career to the next level. Of course, if the reason is low salary, you should do a detailed analysis and consider giving your employees a reasonable raise.

Don’t Take It Personally

The reasons an employee is leaving your company are multiple. It could be a better job opportunity, low salary, family problems, or health issues. Maybe they don’t get along with the rest of the team or they’re not satisfied with your corporate culture. After all, they may even dislike working with you as a manager.

Whatever it is, you will figure it out during the exit interview. However, this should never affect your behavior. Taking their resignation too personally won’t help. On the contrary, it will only leave a bad taste in the employee’s mouth and result in a tense workplace atmosphere.

So, before you say or do anything inconsiderate, take a deep breath and try to imagine how difficult it must be for them to share the news with you. Most importantly, don’t insult them or yell at them. Instead, go the extra mile in replacing rage with empathy. Don’t forget to wish them luck and show that you understand and respect their decisions.

Familiarize yourself with the Resignation Policy

One of the most important steps you need to make is to handle your employee’s resignation properly. And, to do so, you need to understand your company’s HR procedures.

For instance, once they come to you and say they want to leave your company, you need to inform them about the steps they need to make during the resignation process. First, request them to send a letter of resignation to the HR office. The letter should clearly state the reason for the resignation, as well as the date of their last day in the office.

Also, the majority of companies require a departing employee to work out a notice period, for about 2 weeks. So, you need to tell the employee what their tasks during this period are. The notice can also be paid out and, in this case, it’s called pay in lieu of notice. Your obligation is to inform them about the notice pay and everything it includes (overtime, penalty rates, loadings, bonuses, etc.)

Minimize the Disruption

Like I’ve already mentioned, the resignation of any team member may seriously disrupt the overall workplace performance. So, your main aim is to prevent this on time and make sure everything goes smoothly.

For starters, you need to think of the most effective way to share the news with the rest of the team. To avoid the feeling of uncertainty and fear among your employees, you should call a quick meeting and let them know about their colleague’s resignation before the rumors start. It’s paramount that you talk to them, calm them down, and reassure them that everything will be fine.

Negotiate, but only if It’s Necessary

Let’s take an example. You’re a week out from delivering a project critical to your company and your star employee comes to you, telling that they want to quit their job. There is no time to find a replacement for them and deliver the project on time.

So, what should you do in a situation like that?

Well, try to explain that quitting their job in such a critical stage could seriously damage the end results of the project, as well as their own reputation. You may also offer them a better salary, a larger office, or a new job title.

But, keep in mind that this form of negotiations may be counterproductive. If they decide to leave you when you need them most, will you be able to trust them ever again? Before you make a counteroffer, you should ask yourself how critical that person is to your company.  

Back to You

Sometimes, showing your employee that you respect their decision is the key to making their departure as painless as possible.

Be compassionate.

Throw them a farewell party.

Inform your team about their coworker’s resignation and help them learn the ropes.

Most importantly, remember that handling a surprise resignation professionally will serve as a good example to your employees and strengthen their perceptions of you as an amazing leader.

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She is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. Currently working as a marketing consultant and a guest lecturer at the Melbourne University. Writes for Bizzmark blog and many other business related magazines and blogs. A proud mother of two.