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All good things come to an end. As an employer, this can ring true when your favorite employee springs up without warning, and tables a resignation letter. No matter the work environment you provide, there are things beyond your control that can see your employee of the year want to leave.

So, while you hope that you never have to come across an employee resignation announcement, the smart thing to do is prepare for it. In this article, we will provide you with useful tips to help you turn employee resignation into a positive experience.

Avoid Being Judgmental

According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 3.5 million quits in the US workforce in October 2019. In this context, “quits” refer to voluntary separations from an employer that are initiated by the employee.

So, when your employee quits, the first thing to do is to avoid condemning them. You might be taken aback and even get upset, but it is essential to remain calm and sensible. After all, if an employee has made up their mind to leave, there is really not much you can do to reverse their decision.

Give a chance to lending them an ear to understand their decision and opinions. Also, subtly and respectfully query them to comprehend why they want to leave. This way, you can learn about anything wrong with the company, and adjust accordingly to retain the rest of your employees.

React Normally

There is nothing wrong with communicating your feelings when an employee resigns. For example, saying, “Your resignation saddens me, you are an invaluable member of our team” is entirely sensible. While it might seem like a show of weakness, it shows that you are an honest employer who does not shy away from expressing what they feel.

Note, since the resignation process can stretch for a week or two, reacting aggressively will make your final interactions awkward.

Ask for a Resignation Letter

You need to get an employee resignation letter for the file. This document shows that the worker voluntarily asked to be let off and specifies that their job termination was not due to disciplinary or other issues. Usually, this missive will detail the employee’s intent to leave, the plan to provide a two-week notice, and the worker’s last day on the job.

Note that a worker doesn’t need to submit resignation letter with a two-week notice. Currently, no federal laws specify that an employee cannot leave without providing this notice.

Develop a Transition Plan

David Eckert, Human Resource Manager at ResumeEdge, shares his thoughts:

“While the number of quits remained relatively unchanged over the past year, there was a notable +66,000 quits in other services and +12,000 in educational services. As such, if your company has a chance of getting affected, it is never too late to start thinking about having a solid transition plan.”

After getting a resignation from your employee, you need to cooperate with them when it comes to developing a transition plan. Their idea of what has to be completed before exiting the company might be different from yours, so it is essential to work together. This way, you will get a better idea of their regular weekly tasks, the projects on their table, the clients they contact directly, and so forth.

Be very keen when developing this plan as you will have to determine the person who will take over those responsibilities in the meantime. By doing this, you can reach out to the worker’s frequent clients and collaborators to ensure that your cooperation with them stays smooth. Consider developing your transition plan within a week of an employee tendering in their resignation.

Formulate a Way of Communicating the News to the Rest of the Team

You do not want to face the rest of your staff without a solid plan. So, you have to ponder how you will deliver the news to them effectively. Below are some suggestions on what to do:

  • Only come out of your office after you have a good idea of what to say.
  • Think about the areas of your organization that need improvement and formulate plausible solutions ahead of communicating your decision.
  • Be honest, receptive, and let your employees communicate what they want to be changed.
  • Let your workers tell you who is the best replacement for the resigning employee.
  • Maintain positivity and confidence at all times to overcome your predicament easily.

Communicate the Resignation of a Staff Member to Everyone

To avoid gossip from taking over the workplace, you must get everyone on the same page. Find the best time, not long after an employee resigns, to communicate the information to your remaining workforce. Consider taking things a step further by telling workers why a particular employee is leaving.

If a member of your team is absent on the day of your announcement, consider informing them separately when they get back to work. Alternatively, you can send them a text to get them in on the news. That said, remember the purpose of all this is to ensure that unsubstantiated claims or rumors do not spread in the office.

Have a Worker Resignation Checklist

If your company does not have a well-defined resignation procedure, you can begin by developing a breakdown of duties for everyone involved in the transition. Your procedure should entail the duties of the resigning worker, their immediate supervisor, IT experts, and any other professional that plays a part in the resignation process. After creating a work breakdown, you can proceed to create a more comprehensive employee resignation checklist, with flowcharts and other details.

Liaise with the Employee’s Supervisor to Fill the Vacancy

Whenever employees leave, there’s bound to be a disruption in the way things are done in a company. To counter this, make a point of communicating with the resigning employee’s immediate supervisor to get a clearer picture regarding the impact their departure will have on the organization. This way, you can find out whether there is a need for an instant replacement if the role can be split among other employees, and so forth.

Wish Your Employee All the Best

Employee resignations should not be taken personally; it is how the industry works. So, the next time your employees resign, remember to wish them all the best. Apart from that, consider offering a reference for them and urge them to stay in touch with you. Do this even if they were not at their peak performance during their last days with you. After all, you never know if you might need their services in the future.

If you did not know what to do when an employee resigns, consider implementing the tips highlighted here. While losing an employee – especially an excellent one – can be quite challenging, the advice we provide here will prove to be very useful for any manager. And if nothing else, remember to give your former employee a farewell card. Better yet, cutting a goodbye cake is sure to leave everyone happy!

About the author

Alice Berg is a blogger and a career advisor, who received a degree in Social Work and Applied Social Studies. Now she helps people to find their own way in life, gives career advice and guidance, helps young people to prepare for their careers. You can find Alice on Twitter and Medium.

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