How to Effectively Manage an Employee’s Resignation Process

Employees resign. It may take a few years or decades, but people change jobs for different reasons. They may be after a career leap, a better salary, or a new position. In most cases, a resignation may come out of the blue, leaving employers surprised. 

Before expressing any negative feelings, managers need to bear in mind that they can positively deal with the situation and make the process less stressful. 

“When an employee resigns it creates uncertainty which inevitably creates stress. But how a manager handles the resignation and the days and weeks that follow can have a significant impact on the rest of the organisation,” wrote Rachel Weeks, a Marketing Leader, in an article on LinkedIn.  

Say thank you

An employee that has worked for a company for many years may expect to hear words of gratitude upon their resignation. 

Thanking people for what they have done helps to maintain a good relationship, not only with the former employee, but with the rest of the team. As stated by Inc, responding to the situation with the wrong attitude can send a negative message to all staff members. 

The website also said that when managers show empathy and offer some support, they can make the transition period a lot easier.

Plan the next steps 

Although employees usually give their notice during a private conversation, the Department of Industrial Relations of the NSW Government recommends formalising it through a letter as a way to avoid misunderstandings.

 “While an employee can resign from their job verbally, it is best for the employer to follow up by confirming the resignation in writing,” the institution declared

Then, managers should consider how and when they’ll deliver the news to the team, clients, and relevant stakeholders. According to Rachel, as soon as people hear about the person’s decision to leave the job, the better. It reduces stress among the group and leaves little room for concerns to arise.

As a common practice in most industries, employees will have to work out 2 weeks notice. However, some companies may follow different protocols. 

If the resigning employee stays for an extra fortnight, it leaves time to make arrangements to transfer tasks and projects to another team member who is prepared to take on the responsibility.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment in New Zealand shared an Employee exit checklist to help leaders to organise an employee’s departure. It includes planning a farewell meeting and conducting an exit interview.     

Seek feedback 

Whether it happens via e-mail, an online questionnaire, or in person, the last talk with the former team member is an opportunity to get some feedback and to make sure they have followed all the departing procedures. 

Managers can confirm if the employee has returned the company’s assets and security passes. They can also ensure that confidential information and intellectual property will not leave the organisation’s premises.

Managers can benefit from an exit interview by asking pertinent questions and encouraging former employees to share insights and suggestions about their previous job.  While evaluating all the information, leaders may find areas where improvements are necessary. 

As a manager, sometimes it’s traumatic when an employee resigns and sometimes it’s a relief. But either way, the manager sets the tone for what happens after the resignation is given. That tone has a ripple effect on both the immediate and long-term future of employees across the company”, said Rachel.  

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