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How to handle employee resignations

How To Respond When An Employee Resigns

What to do when an employee hands in their notice?

In many cases, employees find handing in their notice is an awkward and sometimes unpleasant experience, with bosses beginning to treat them differently and show the cold shoulder. This should not be the case. When an employee resigns, it is important to handle the situation professionally and ensure a smooth transition.

We’ve created this brief guide on “how to behave when your employee hands in their notice”.

Find out their reason

Finding out the reasons your employee intends to resign is hugely important, especially if it was unexpected. Is there anything you can do to change their mind? There may be changes you can make to working arrangements to accommodate their circumstances, such as offering a transfer or increased benefits. For example, if the resignation is due to family commitments, could adopting flexible working help?

If employees are wanting to leave due to fall-outs and tension between the team, it is worth investigating. Managers and HR should review the company culture, offering team building and wellbeing courses to ensure the situation doesn’t become out of hand and you don’t lose any more good people as a result of something that can be easily resolved.

Unfortunately, when someone has made up their mind to leave it's unwise to force them into staying.

What to do when an employee hands in their notice:

When an employee resigns, it is important to handle the situation professionally and respectfully. Here are some best practices to follow when an employee resigns:

  1. Acknowledge the resignation promptly: Once an employee communicates their intention to resign, acknowledge their resignation promptly and thank them for their service. This helps establish open communication and shows respect for their decision.

  2. Get written confirmation of the resignation, including the date. This will help resolve any future disputes over the exact date of resignation and the start of any notice period.

  3. Schedule an exit interview: If feasible, schedule an exit interview with the resigning employee. This can provide valuable insights into their experience and reasons for leaving. It also allows for constructive feedback that may help improve your organization or address any concerns.

  4. Review employment agreements and policies: Go over the employee's contract, any non-disclosure or non-compete agreements, and relevant company policies. Ensure that both parties understand their rights and obligations during the notice period and beyond.

  5. Determine the notice period: Check the employment contract or applicable labor laws to determine the notice period required from the resigning employee. Respect the agreed-upon notice period and discuss any necessary handover arrangements during this time.

  6. Plan for knowledge transfer / handover period: Encourage the resigning employee to provide a comprehensive handover of their responsibilities, projects, and tasks. This will help minimise disruption and facilitate a smooth transition for their replacement or team members.

  7. Maintain confidentiality: Respect the employee's decision to resign and keep the information confidential unless they have given permission to disclose it. Avoid sharing the news with other employees until the resigning employee has had a chance to inform their colleagues themselves.

  8. Communicate the departure internally: Once the resigning employee has informed their immediate team or colleagues, it is appropriate to communicate the departure internally. Notify the relevant stakeholders in a professional manner, keeping the tone positive and focusing on the employee's contributions.

  9. Prepare for a transition: Assess the impact of the employee's departure on the team and organisation. Determine whether a replacement is needed and create a plan to action this, either via external recruitment or an internal restructure.

  10. Maintain positive relationships: Even though an employee is leaving, it is essential to maintain a positive and professional relationship. Wish them well in their future endeavours and encourage ongoing communication if appropriate. The person leaving may become a client or may be able to refer business to you.

​By following these best practices, you can handle employee resignations with professionalism, ensure a smooth transition, and maintain positive relationships within your organisation.

Has your organisation just lost an employee? Call Hewett Recruitment now on 01905 613413 to discuss how we can support you with your recruitment needs, following an employee resignation.

Best practice when an employee resigns:

1. Thank them for their contribution to your business, acknowledge their key skills and inputs

2. Wish them the best in future endeavours, you never know when or how you may meet again!

3. Remain professional, keep treating them with respect and accept their resignation gracefully.

4. Let them know you are here if they need anything - support during this period will create a positive experience and a lasting impression.

5. Be genuinely happy for them. Employees do not owe you their whole lives or their dreams.

6. Evaluate and learn: Reflect on the reasons behind the employee's departure and consider whether any improvements or changes can be made to prevent similar resignations in the future. Use the feedback from the exit interview and any other relevant sources to identify areas of growth for the organisation.

If your employee has recently resigned, and you are looking for a replacement, Hewett Recruitment are here to support you. Likewise, if you have recently handed in your resgination, browse our current roles here.