How to Handle an Employee Resignation

By Kelly B. — Published March 06, 2018

How to Handle an Employee Resignation

An eventuality that all organizations must come to terms with is that even their most treasured employees can end up resigning and leaving the job. The reasons for their exit can vary. Though some factors are under the organization's control, there are bound to be reasons that you simply can’t do anything about. Most employees will leave once they’ve decided to leave.

However, what organizations can do is react favorably to the employee’s decision. By doing so, they can ensure that the transition phase is smoother. Instead of interfering with the employee’s decisions, companies must focus on ensuring that the employee continues to be a good contributor until the last day.

After all, you need them to be just as productive and enthusiastic for a range of reasons. For instance, an outgoing employee who is treated well will complete pending tasks, fix loose ends, and even train his/her replacement as required.

But, how can an organization go about making this possible? Well, here are a few suggestions.

Notify everybody
All relevant parties within the organization must be notified of the resignation. Start off by first informing the resigning employee’s own department. This can be done in the form of a meeting or by simply mailing everybody.

Mention that the resignation has created a situation where the others might have to tie up loose ends. Assign specific tasks to each person.

Establish a timeline for replacement so that everybody is prepared. Though good employees will contribute even after resigning, they still deserve to know the exact timeline.

Make sure you appreciate the resigning employee. When you send out the mail, mention the good work the employee has done and wish them luck in their future endeavors.

You can also host a farewell dinner or party for the employee. However, make sure the resigning employee has agreed to your plans.

Reduce disruption
As we mentioned earlier, disruption is inevitable. So, take the time to figure out how you’re going to handle things. We’ve already discussed how you can notify the resigning employee’s own team. However, you will also be tasked with informing other key members such as the board, partners, and customers.

You can, once again, resort to mailing them or call in a meeting.

As for identifying a replacement, you can seek the resigning employee’s opinion on the matter.
Another important thing to make a note of is the timing of the announcement. Make sure you notify everybody before the employee leaves; not after.

Finally, ease everybody into the situation. Tell them that this just a small curve in the road and things will return to normal soon enough.

Acquire information from the employee
Make sure you have a one-on-one conversation with the resigning employee. You see, employees, especially highly productive ones, are likely to have developed unique skills that can be helpful after they leave. These employees might also possess useful knowledge that you may not have paid attention to.

By collecting this kind of knowledge and skills, you can make the transition much easier. If you fail to bother with this, you could be missing out on some extremely useful material.

For example, some employees, who have served for years, maybe the only ones who can operate certain programs or machinery.

Negotiate if necessary
If the employee aims to leave at a critical period, you can try to negotiate. For instance, if they plan to move out during an important phase of a project, it can prove to be a major problem. So, try to explain to the employee that their input is very much needed at this time.

As we stated earlier, establish a timeline that the employee can agree too. However, make sure it doesn’t go beyond this. Keep your word.

But, if they still intend to leave, you have no choice but to let them go and figure out another way to make things work.

One way to deal with such situations is to have a risk management plan in place.

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