When an employee submits their resignation, it can be an overwhelming and emotional experience for both the employer and the employee.

And, while it may seem like you need to adapt quickly to the change in personnel, it’s crucial to handle the resignation with care and respect. Regardless of the relationship you had with the employee, it’s essential to show empathy and understanding during this process.

In this blog, we will discuss some best practices that business owners can use to manage employee resignations.

From understanding the reasons behind an employee’s decision, to conducting exit interviews and providing support, we will cover everything you need to know to handle resignations the right way.

Prepare for the Conversation

Planning ahead is an essential step in ensuring a successful conversation. Take some time to think through what you want to say and how you want to approach the situation. Ensure you’ve reviewed the employee’s contract too – have they given the correct notice period, are there any restrictions or commercial sensitivities that need to be considered during the notice period or after they have left?  

If so you may need to consider garden leave if this is permitted in the contract or any post-termination restrictions/obligations.

Anticipate any questions or counterpoints that may arise, so you’re prepared to address them.

When you’re well-prepared, it’s easier to stay on track during the discussion and make sure that everyone involved feels heard and respected.

When it comes to resignations, it’s important to always remain professional. No matter the circumstances surrounding the employee’s decision, make sure you demonstrate respect in your words and body language. This will help ensure that everyone involved feels comfortable during the conversation.

Allow the Employee to Express Their Reasons for Resigning

As an employer, it’s important to provide your employee with time and respect when they decide to resign. Listen attentively to their reasons for leaving, even if they’re not what you want to hear.

By doing this, you’re showing that you value their contribution to the workplace and that you understand the situation. This will help to foster a better atmosphere and demonstrate your professionalism even during a difficult time.

Offer Support and Resources

Although losing an employee is never ideal, it’s crucial to remember that they may need additional support during this transition. 

If you’ve had a good relationship with the employee, consider offering them the opportunity to stay in touch or come back if their new role doesn’t turn out the way they hope. This kind of support and understanding will demonstrate your commitment to their success and may make all the difference in their future journey.

Also, don’t forget colleagues in the wider team. It’s quite possible they may feel unsettled by the news of losing one of their co-workers, so don’t forget to may sure they are supported during the notice period and transition to the new member of the team joining, by checking-in with them regularly and making sure they are able to voice any issues or concerns.

Conduct an Exit Interview

Conducting an exit interview is a critical step in gaining a better understanding of why the employee is leaving and obtaining valuable feedback about their experience working at your company. The information gathered can be used to inform your future hiring and training processes and to identify areas for improvement.

Here are some questions you can include:

  1. What did you enjoy most about working for our company?
  1. What motivated your decision to leave the business?
  1. Was there anything we could have done differently to make your job more enjoyable? 
  1. Did you feel adequately supported by management/leadership during your time here? 
  1. How do you think the work environment at our company can be improved? 
  1. Do you have any additional feedback, suggestions, or constructive criticism that can help us improve as an organisation in moving forward with new hires and employees?

Ultimately, conducting an exit interview will help you ensure that you’re doing all you can to retain good employees in the future.

If They Were An Asset, Don’t Forget To Thank Them

It’s important to express your gratitude for their service and remind them of the value they brought to your company. Letting them know how much you appreciate their contributions is a great way to end things on a positive note.

By expressing gratitude and offering support, you’re showing that you understand their decision and that you value the time they spent at your company. This can help to ensure that their last impression of the business is a good one and preserve a positive relationship moving forward.

Exit Interview Resignation Process

Make a Plan

Finally, don’t forget to create a plan to ensure the transition and handover period runs smoothly.  

Will a replacement be in position before the employee leaves? If so, ensure sufficient time is scheduled for a thorough handover to the new member of the team. If not, do you need the employee to document anything, or handover to another colleague in the meantime? This includes all relevant passwords and access to all online and network information. Be clear and ensure other members of the team are kept in the loop.

Furthermore, agree detailed arrangements for what company property/assets need to be handed in and when. 

Clearly communicate details in relation to their final pay and benefits. Do they need to use accrued annual leave during their notice period or will this be paid in lieu? 

Alternatively, have they taken holidays in excess of their entitlement? In which case a deduction will be made from their final pay. And, last but not least, when can they expect to receive their P45? Which they’ll need to provide to their new employer as soon as possible to avoid being on an emergency tax code.

Resignations Are Never Easy

Resignations are never ideal, but it’s important to remember that they can provide valuable feedback and present opportunities for growth. By managing them in a respectful and professional manner, you can ensure everyone involved feels heard and understood.

Keep these tips in mind to help you handle employee resignations the right way. It will help you to maintain good relationships with former employees and set yourself up for future success.

Don’t hesitate to reach out with any inquiries or if you need further help. At Petaurum HR, we are here to support your HR for the long-term, supporting you in uncertain times, like resignations.