Learn What to Do When Employees Resign

Businessman examining ëexití sign in office
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Even the best employer has employees resign. No matter your work environment or your positive employee relationships, employees resign for reasons that are beyond your control. Sometimes they resign for reasons that are out of their immediate control, too.

They resign for new jobs and better opportunities. They resign to return to school or move across the country. They resign when their spouse takes a job in another state in a hard-to-find employment field. They leave because they want more money than you can afford to pay.

They also leave when they have children to move to an area with better schools or to an area where they will have their family to support them as the children need care and grow. The reasons why an employee might leave your employment are endless and challenging to you as an employer. Whatever the reasons why employees resign, these are the recommended procedures for employers to follow to handle the employee resignation.​

When Employees Resign

Employees will often tell their boss first when they resign from their job. The boss needs to tell the employee that the first step in the resignation process is to send a letter of resignation to the Human Resources office. This triggers all of the end of employment events necessary in an employment termination. The boss needs to contact HR immediately to plan for a replacement employee.

How to Act When Employees Resign

No matter how desirable your company is as an employer, employees resign. Employees resign for many right reasons - and occasionally, for wrong reasons, too.

Employees move to be closer to their family when they decide to start a family because they want to live close to a support group to help raise their children. Employee spouses or partners accept outstanding job offers or medical residencies that are out-of-state.

Employees resign because they receive job offers that will catapult their careers when similar opportunities are unavailable in your firm. Employees resign to leave bad bosses – though shame on you if you allow this resignation to occur. Many of these are positive reasons why employees resign. They may not be as positive for the employer.

Your job, no matter what the reason is for the employee's resignation, is to act with grace, dignity, and professionalism. Congratulate the employee if the opportunity sounds like a promotion or another career-enhancing step. 

Work with the employee's manager and co-workers to make sure that an appropriate ending party or a chance to share memories and a drink at a local tavern event is scheduled. You want every employee's last memory of your firm to be positive and professional. You want the employee to feel as if he had a special opportunity while working with your organization.

During this time, here's how to handle the details when an employee resigns.

Employment Ending Checklist

Following your receipt of the employee's official resignation letter, work with the employee's supervisor to make certain that the employee's last two weeks remain positive and contributing. If the employee has provided the standard and expected two weeks' notice, you have ample time to wrap up the employee's job.

If the employee is viewed as a threat to the ongoing work and environment for your other employees, you can walk the employee to his car and terminate the employment relationship immediately.

This is fortunately, a rare situation, so you normally have the opportunity to wrap up the employee's job and pass the work to other employees while you begin the recruitment for the employee's replacement.

Or, you may rethink the organization of the work and the department as a whole. An employee resignation is also an opportunity.

You will also want to work on:

Employment resignation can be managed so that you minimize the impact of the loss of the employee on your workflow and work environment. Handled effectively, the exiting employee leaves knowing that he or she has contributed and added value during their time in your employment.

Encourage the employee's department to hold a recognition and farewell event for the employee before his or her last day. Follow your standard procedures in your employment ending checklist for the employee's last day.

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