How to Handle Employee Resignations: A Simple Guide for Employers
<div class="grey-callout"><h2>In This Guide You’ll Learn</h2><p><ul><li>The importance of accepting that resignations will happen.</li><li>The three things you need to do after a staff member resigns.</li></ul></p></div>
Losing good staff is painful, particularly after you’ve put in time and effort recruiting and training them. Even new staff can end up leaving. Sometimes they regret their decision to resign from their previous job and their old boss persuades them to come back.
When you lose an employee, new or otherwise, you need to take a moment to reflect. Resist knee-jerk reactions like getting angry or telling them to leave the building! Make sure you do the following three things:
1. Think About Whether You Need to Recruit for the Job
- My Six Tests of Recruitment determine whether it’s actually worth recruiting for a job.
- Sometimes it might not be, such as in situations where you can automate tasks, outsource them, or train up existing staff to do them. If so, then save yourself a lot of work – and help your bottom line – by not taking on new staff. (See our guide: Why You Might Not Want to Recruit Right Now).
2. Make a Counteroffer
- If you decide that you really do need a staff member to carry out the job, then you may decide to make a counteroffer to try and keep the employee.
- Don’t immediately ask them if they want more money, though. Open up a broader conversation about what would need to change for them to stay. Money might not be the issue. They might want different working hours, more holiday or a revamped role.
- The downside of counteroffers is that they’re often sticking plaster solutions to deeper problems such as poor management or limited development opportunities, and the person may end up leaving anyway.
3. Keep the Door Open
- If your employee is really set on leaving, then accept the situation and be respectful of their decision. Who knows, one day they might want to come back so you want them to leave on as good terms as possible.
- Also, you want the employee to give an honest Exit Interview and they’ll be less likely to cooperate if you’ve made their last few weeks uncomfortable. (For more on Exit Interviews see How to Conduct an Exit Interview).
<div class="grey-callout"><h2>Key Takeaways</h2><p><ul><li>Realise that people will leave – even new employees.</li><li>If you lose a member of staff, use my Six Tests of Recruitment to determine whether you really do need to recruit for the job.</li><li>If you do need someone, then consider making a counteroffer.</li><li>When someone is leaving, be nice to them – one day they might consider coming back.</li></ul></p></div>