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How to Handle an Employee Resignation

Dealing With an Employee Resignation Depends on the Circumstances

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Man and Woman Talking to Each Other Over a Wooden Table

An Employee Resignation Is Often a Loss for an Organization

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Face it. Sooner or later, even the best employer has employees resign. They think they've found a better opportunity or their spouse has accepted a job out-of-state. The reasons are endless for an employee resignation. But, each employee resignation poses the employer with a series of questions.

How do you announce the employee's resignation? Who needs to know what about the employee's resignation? When do you tell your employees about the employee's resignation? Here are answers to the questions you may have about employee resignation.

An employee has just resigned. The norm is that the employee tells you verbally that he or she is resigning from your company. Immediately ask the resigning employee for a resignation letter in writing with their final date of employment stated. This protects you from unemployment claims and other charges of impropriety.

Dealing With Employee Resignation

An employee resignation always causes some disruption in the workflow, however, if the employee resigning is valued and you decide to let him or her work their final two weeks, they can do a lot to make the transition successful. This assumes that you have assessed that the individual will remain a positive contributor until their final day.

They can wrap up loose ends, provide details about ongoing projects, and email friends and coworkers about their leaving. Make sure you assign employees to pick up the work of the departing employee. They will have a head start if they can confer with the person leaving to understand the challenges and details of their job. Additionally, if the employee resigning has customer contact responsibilities, they can provide an introduction to the person who will be picking up their responsibilities.

You might ask administrative employees, and others who have jobs with clear and documentable responsibilities, to create a procedure manual prior to their departure. But, hopefully, you already have these procedures documented and in place.

Notification to Coworkers and Customers About an Employee Resignation

To notify other employees about an employee's resignation, start by telling the employee's own department about the employee�s resignation. Perhaps call a quick meeting and inform the other employees that the employee's last day is in two weeks. Tell them that you will appreciate their help to pick up any loose ends and inform them to whom the various responsibilities have been assigned.

Your other employees will also want to know the timeline for replacement of the departing employee. Generally, good employees are quite willing to perform extra work or work longer hours to fill in, but they appreciate knowing the time frame during which this will be expected.

With a trusted, valued employee who will be working out their two week's notice, send out an email to notify the other employees immediately of the employee's resignation. You might say something such as: Mary is leaving us to pursue new opportunities at x company. Her last day at our company is: date. Please join me in wishing Mary tremendous success in her future endeavors. We will hold a say good-bye party at Tom's Tavern on Mary's last day. Please join us to wish Mary success in her new employment and to say good-bye.

Of course, before you send this information out, check with Mary to see if she is comfortable with all of the above. She may even have a personal email address that she wants to share so people can stay in touch.

Many of your employees probably knew that Mary was looking and they also know why. Employees like closure when a valued colleague leaves so your graciousness is not only appreciated, it sends a powerful message to the employees who remain. Of course, you will hold an exit interview during which you will become clear about why the employee is leaving.

I am not a believer in making counter offers or in enticing Mary to stay. In her mind, she has already moved on.

How to Notify Employees When the Employee Resignation Is Welcome

The scenario changes if the employee resigning is not valued or you don't trust the person to carry out their responsibilities successfully during their two week's notice. In these cases, tell the employee that you will pay him or her for their time, but their services are no longer required. Follow the additional guidelines in this employment ending check list. And, ask yourself why you continued to employ this individual under any circumstances to avoid repeating your mistake in the future. Firing an employee can be ethical, legal, moral, and appropriate.

To announce the employee's resignation, send out an immediate email to all employees stating that Mary has left the company to pursue new opportunities effective on today's date. You might add that you wish her success in her new opportunities. Communicate also, where any of her responsibilities have been reassigned. You may want to add some details about how and when you plan to seek a replacement due to the employee resignation.

More About Employment Termination

Do you have additional thoughts about the contents of an Employment Ending Checklist? Please send email to Susan Heathfield.

More About Resignation

Sample Resignation Letters

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