How to manage the process positively when an employee unexpectedly resigns

Date: Wednesday, 20th March, 2019

So things are ticking along nicely in your business. Your employees are engaged, productive, and they’re smashing their goals. Sales are on the rise, and you’re feeling pretty pleased with the fact that you’ve managed to grow and nurture such an fantastic team.

However quite out of the blue there’s a spanner in the works.  A key employee tells you that they’re moving on to pastures new and in a small business this can be a serious blow and have a real impact on your bottom line if it’s not managed effectively.

So in practical terms, let’s take a look at what you need to do…

Establish exactly when they’ll leave

You might already have a policy in place surrounding the necessary notice period. Of course though, things don’t always go according to plan, so don’t make any assumptions. Make sure that you know the precise date that your employee will leave. This way, you can sort out any outstanding admin arrangements, including payroll, and you can also start to work out your next steps so there’s minimum impact on your business.

Carry out an exit interview

An exit interview will allow you to get some valuable feedback about why your employee decided to leave. You can’t retain everyone you recruit, but it makes sense to keep an eye on the reasons why people move on to different things.

Do remember that because you’re the boss, you’re not always going to get the full and complete truth. It might be worth outsourcing this part of the process, so you can be sure that you’re getting more reliable and meaningful information to work with.

Implement your continuity plan

Right now, it’s no help whatsoever for us to mention that you should have already planned for these kinds of circumstances. You already know this, and you’re probably kicking yourself. Still though, there’s work to be done. You need to establish how you’ll make sure that productivity remains high, and that your business doesn’t suffer.

Part of this is likely to involve looking for a new employee. For now, consider how you can bridge any gaps by utilising your existing workforce, without making unreasonable demands. It may not be ideal, but there’s often a silver lining. You could be giving an ambitious employee an opportunity to step up and broaden their experience.

Don’t forget to thank them for their contribution

We know that you don’t need us to tell you that this is a good idea, but when you’re stressed out about the future, it’s easy to overlook the most obvious things. Your employee could go on to refer business your way, or they may even become a customer or a client in the future.

And of course, you definitely don’t want to face the fallout that could come with your employee ending their time with you on a sour note. A little bit of consideration can go a long way.

If you’re currently dealing with the potential nightmare of having an employee hand in their notice, or you’re worried that you might be in the not too distant future, then get in touch.

Give HR Revolution a call today and have a chat about your options and how you can navigate your way through any potential pitfalls.  

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