Effective Ways to Handle Employee Resignation
How do you handle employee resignation? As an employer, you need to understand that nothing lasts forever. Everything might be going perfectly well, your business is thriving, your employees seem to be satisfied in their jobs, and out of the blues, an employee informs you that he wants to resign. This can come as a great shock to any employer who has been driving down a straight non-bumpy road. This is why it is said to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. No employee will stay with you forever. Your employee of the year might decide to leave the company the next month. The moment an employee comes on board is the same moment you braze yourself for when he’s going to leave.
No matter how good a company is, employees will still leave. It might be to search for greener pastures in form of a higher position or salary. On the other hand, it could be that he lacks satisfaction in his current role or company. It could even be due to a change in career line, relocation or the employee is simply tired of working in the same place. Whatever reason it might be, it’s not easy news to take in. The reason is that the monetary cost associated with recruiting an equally talented replacement is huge. Also, the time that will be lost in the process of transition. The reasonable thing to do is not to fight the employee, ask the employee for reasons why he wants to leave. This is because if something is being done wrongly, he will not be the last to leave. If the employee is valuable, with the right knowledge, you can convince him to stay.
Steps to handle an employee resignation
Do not be irrational
I know news like this will probably turn your bile, but do not let your emotions get the better part of you. Even in a time like this, you are required to act professionally. Instead of putting up an office drama, try to understand the reason why the employee is leaving. A single resignation can cause a chain reaction if something is being done wrongly. There has to be a reason behind his decision and that should be your aim. The employee’s reason might be directly related to the company or might have nothing to do with the company. It could be as a result of relocation as said earlier. Also, it is important to note that several other employees are watching to know how you would react to the current situation. You do not want them to get a wrong impression about your leadership. It is okay to express your concerns, especially if the employee is a valuable asset to the company, but the manner of approach should welcoming. In the end, be grateful for the employee’s contribution to the growth of the company over the years.
Persuade the employee to stay
When making management decisions, keep your pride in your pocket. If the employee is s valuable asset do not accept defeat yet. It might take you months to find a replacement for such a person. Even when you do, the new employee might never be as good as the current employee. Have you imagined where he might be taking all the talents to, it could be a direct competitor? You will not only have to battle with the loss but the new competition. Most times, a resignation is usually a sign of underlying factors that are not properly managed. Employees do not just wake up one morning and decide to resign, it’s either they feel satisfied in the job or they are looking for better prospects. If you can offer them those opportunities they are seeking elsewhere, they will not think of leaving in the first place. Even though sometimes, it is not within your reach. An employee can decide to leave for reasons not related to the company at all. At this point, you should make peace with the truth and move on.
Ask for an official resignation letter
If your plan to make the employee stay did not work, then it is time to let the employee go. If the employee informed you through an informal word of mouth, ask him to put in a proper resignation letter. The letter usually contains the employee’s reason for leaving. The document is a formal proof that the employee voluntarily asked to be let off and that the job termination is not due to any disciplinary or other issue.
Communicate the news to the rest of the team
The purpose of informing other employees is to stop any form of gossip. The walls have ears, so whether you inform them or not, the news will somehow leak. You do not want employees whispering in a closed corner and forming ideas. Before the news will pass from one person to another, a lot has been added and subtracted from it and some employees will be misinformed. But do not just rush out of your office, ring a long bell for everyone to gather and divulge the news. Ponder on what to say and have a solid plan. Delivering information of this magnitude wrongly can put thoughts into your employees’ heads. The common questions that will run through their head will be, Why will an employee that is doing so well resign? Is there something wrong with the company? Maybe the employee knows something we don’t know? If the employee of the year is leaving, who am I to stay?. With just one sentence uttered wrongly, you will have multiple other resignation letters to deal with. You can start by informing the employee’s department first, before informing the rest.
Source for a replacement
Once it has been settled that the employee is leaving, start sourcing for a replacement immediately. That work will not get itself done. While you are at that, also look internally. There might be talented subordinates that can fill in the position. Why search elsewhere, when what you are searching for is right in front of you. The advantages of recruiting within can not be underestimated. The employee might have been shading the outgoing employee for a while and will know every nook and cranny of the company’s business. Additionally, the employee already knows the company’s culture and will not need time to adapt. Who is best to replace a master, other than his apprentice.
Accept their help in training their replacement
While some companies have this included in their policy, some do not. However, if the employee offers to help despite not being legally bound, be grateful and accept his offer. This will make the transition process go smoothly.
Act in line with the company’s policy and employment agreement
Before taking any decision, make sure it is in line with the company’s policy and general law. There are so many legal rules that govern a workplace. You do not want to take the wrong step and land yourself in trouble. As an employer or human resource manager, you should have some of these rules at your fingertip. These includes
Companies have different specifications on the amount of time an employee should notify the company before leaving. It could range from 2 weeks to 3 months. The average is usually 2 weeks. Companies demand this, to have time to find a replacement for the employee leaving. Leaving a position open for a long time can reduce productivity and increase workloads for other employees that have to bear the burden until the recruit comes in. This is usually stated in the contract of employment. Depending on the terms of the contract, if the employee wants to terminate the contract immediately, the company can ask the employee to pay the equivalent of his monthly salary before leaving. The company can also ask the employee to work during their notice period or put the employee on garden leave. This means the employee is not to come to the office during their notice period.
Some companies include these restrictions in the employment contract. This is the reason why an employee is advised to read his contract letter between the lines. To be more specific, any document you are opening down your signature should be screened properly. Post-termination restrictions include a non-poaching covenant and a non-compete covenant. Non-poaching covenant means that the employee will not poach former employees to the new workplace. While a non-compete covenant means an employee cannot go and work for a competitor.
This sort of interview is conducted to find out the reason why the employee is leaving.
Assist The Outgoing Employee
You do not want to be that boss that will hoard your employee’s progress. Assist the outgoing employee in any way you can. He contributed to the growth of the company and now he wants to move on, it is your turn to help him. If there is a need for a reference for his new company, stand in for him.
Re-evaluate Your Business Plan
A great leader will not sulk over the current situation but look for ways to prevent future reoccurrence. When the breeze settles and everyone is calm, call for a general meeting. Encourage your employees to voice their thoughts about any issue they are facing. Also, ask for contributions on how best to improve the situation. If the company is a large one that all employees can not have the meeting at once, ask every departmental manager to liaise with their subordinates. Then fix a general meeting with all departmental managers to table what they have already discussed with their subordinates.