You've had an employee resignation, now what?

Heard from a valued team member of their intention to leave from your business recently? It’s normal to get a sinking feeling. No manager ever wants to hear that someone valuable on their team has another job offer in hand. Add to this the uncertainty around announcing their resignation, writing a reference check for them, and finding a suitable replacement. A good employee can be hard to find – believe us, we know! 

How should you actually respond to such news? Counteroffers, negotiation, offer opportunities in other teams in your business or just accept that they’re moving on? If you’re unsure of what to do, the first thing to remember is not to react right away – no matter how frustrated or blindsided you feel.

Use these steps to help you plan your next steps

Understand reason for resignation

In today’s world, you might receive an email about someone’s resignation. The first thing to do is set up a one-on-one in person or video call with them. Try to understand why they are leaving.

Ask questions focused on the four T’s: task, time, team and technique. Not only will this help you understand why they’re leaving, but also possibly showcase inefficiencies in your organisation.

Assess their value to your business

And act accordingly. Revisit their past performance. Having a clear idea of how valuable they are to your team and organisation will help you take steps that are appropriate.

If you’re not sad to see them go, just be grateful and start planning for their transition out. Perhaps use this opportunity to promote another team member internally. LinkedIn data shows that internal hiring can result in employees that stay 41 per cent longer.

If you want to retain them, make the effort to make them stay. Highlight the benefits of staying after you understand what the employee is looking for. Making accomodations to retain them is always appealing and employees usually value the effort. If they’re looking for work closer to home, and you think you can’t do much there, you can always allow them to work from home on certain days. Remember to be flexible if you want them to stay.

Call out clear bluffs

Employees can try to use another offer as a leverage to get a raise or promotion. Figure out whether your employee is really thinking of leaving by asking detailed questions and watching for non-verbal cues.

Stakeholder notifications

You would need to notify other employees and clients about your employees decision to leave. Start by announcing this information in your next team meeting and request the existing team to help support the departing employee on their way out. Let the team know the plan in terms of replacement, responsibility assessment and whether anyone is interested in taking on some of their tasks. Of course, ensure that the employee who is resigned is comfortable sharing these details with the team.

Bid farewell properly

Whether you are upset that the employee is leaving or not, plan a proper farewell lunch or celebration with the team. It’s important to thank the employee for their contributions in the past. A community of alumni employees is an attractive selling point for new hiring, and might just land you your next star employee!

Prevent the next resignation

Read our 5 questions to ask an exiting employee

Once you know why the employee is leaving, it helps you improve your business and also your employee experience which ultimately helps in your retention efforts.

It’s a given that whilst employees will come and go, let their exit not be in vain. Turn it into an opportunity to improve.


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