What to Do When an Employee Resigns

Let’s face it, every manager must deal with an employee resignation at some point. Whether the news is welcome or not, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that your organization and team are left in the best possible position. Here are some strategies to keep in mind to professionally manage an employee resignation.

The Resignation Letter
If the employee has simply told you in person about their intention to leave, ask for a formal resignation letter. Make sure that the letter contains their final date of employment.

Don’t Take It Personally
Maybe the employee doesn’t like working for you as a manager, or they’re leaving at a critical time in a project or initiative. Regardless, be as professional as possible. Remind yourself that employees come and go. How you handle the next steps of the process can impact your team and organization.

Pro Tip: Here’s an interesting article from The Harvard Business Review that discusses what to do when an employee quits and you didn’t see it coming.

Identify Next Steps
If you decide to let them work their final 2 weeks, start planning a transition strategy. Ideally, this is a collaborative process. Identify what needs to be wrapped up. Your employee’s idea of loose ends may be different from yours, but it’s important to listen carefully to what they think needs to be done. Build a list of duties, projects, and clients (if applicable). From this list, determine the priorities that your departing employee needs to complete, and get his or her assurance that they’ll be done. Decide how to proactively inform the departing employee’s clients and colleagues if there is no formal company process in place.

On your own, determine which employees will temporarily pick up the slack created by the resignation. Create a list of goals and responsibilities for the position. 

Tips and Tricks
The worst thing about an employee leaving is often the specialized knowledge they take with them. Is the employee willing to do a knowledge transfer? If so, have them thoroughly explain, or better document that knowledge. This leaves you and your team in the best possible position when the employee leaves.

Letting People Know
Perhaps HR or the organization has a process for informing people about a resignation. Discuss this process with the departing employee. If there is no process to follow, then collaboratively decide how the team and company will be informed about the departure. Consider calling a quick team meeting. This will allow you to set the tone and keep things as positive as possible. After this is finished, send a formal email to let people know about the transition.

Start the Hiring Process
Once you’ve evaluated the need for a replacement, start the hiring process as soon as possible. Your team will want to know how long they’ll need to carry the additional workload. Do you need to hire a contract employee to temporarily ease the pressure, or is there time to hire a permanent resource? Fundamentally, you don’t want to burn out your remaining team and create more resignations.

Here are some resources to help you hire well:

Keep it Positive
If at all possible, stay positive. Wish your employee well and if they were a great employee, offer to be a reference in the future. There’s no need to burn a bridge. Who knows if your paths will cross again down the road?

Key Takeaways
Even if their resignation is welcome, losing an employee can be challenging for a manager. Determine what the employee’s final 2 weeks will look like. Make a comprehensive list of duties, projects and clients. Facilitate a knowledge transfer if possible. Decide which team members will temporarily take on the departing employee’s duties. Follow your company’s policy regarding employee resignation, or decide collaboratively how people will be informed (if there is no organizational process in place). Evaluate the need for a replacement and start the hiring process as soon as possible. Ultimately, the more prepared you are with a plan of action, the better it will be for your team, organization and you.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.