What to do when an employee resigns
It’s not unusual for most employers to be filled with dread when they hear the R word. The prospect of losing a valuable employee can induce feelings of panic and trepidation. Managers immediately worry about the impact of lost productivity, not to mention the costs involved of finding their replacement. Sooner or later all employers will have to deal with such resignations, but your response to the situation will directly impact future relationships with your ex-employee, not to mention the outlook of your remaining team. Knowing what to do when an employee resigns will mean you have a path to follow, and don’t make any common errors.
Here are my 5 ways to positively handle any employee resignation:
- BE PROFESSIONAL
Always try to act with grace, dignity, and professionalism. A common error is to show anger, which won’t help the situation. Congratulate the employee if they are taking a career-enhancing step. Even if they are not your favourite person, or a below average worker, try to remain positive. Being negative will only affect office morale, as an employee resignation always causes some disruption in the workplace.
- BE EMPATHETIC
Look at the situation from the employee’s point of view, and offer them a smooth transition and be willing to provide future references. Remember that your ex-employee may well be an important ambassador for your brand by simply spreading positive memories about working for your organisation. You want your employee’s last memory of your firm to be positive and professional. What to do when an employee resigns is organise a small farewell party in the office; this will certainly be appreciated.
- MINIMISE DISRUPTION
Minimise disruption to the team by notifying your other employees about the resignation as soon as you can. I’d recommend calling a quick meeting to inform the team in person rather than by email, and if possible, do not announce it after their departure, as chances are you will create a strong feeling of uncertainty within the team.
- GET FEEDBACK
Gain constructive feedback in an exit interview. This is a perfect opportunity to obtain valuable information about your organisation; ask them to be honest and open, and refrain from getting into disagreements. A well-executed exit interview will be key to organisation improvement, since rarely will you receive such honest feedback from current employees.
- HAVE A PLAN
Always have a contingency plan ready for unexpected events like resignations. This is just good management practise. Cover yourself by ensuring that you are transparent with employees from the start and that you have a contract and processes in place to make the transition as seamless as possible. It’s always a good idea to have at least two people in your company that know how to do each task so that you have cover until you can find a replacement, if someone leaves suddenly. Equally, you should have a recruitment strategy in place to know what your method is to replace them.
You can manage any employment resignation so you minimise the impact of the loss of the employee on your workflow and work environment. If you handle the process of what to do when an employee resigns effectively, the exiting employee leaves on a positive note and you will keep staff morale high.