An employee resignation is rarely a “fun” experience. For businesses, such resignations are almost always disruptive. Yet, there are steps you can take to smooth that transition. Just as importantly, there are proactive measures you can take to ensure that the now unfilled position is filled quickly and with the best possible talent.
Why do employees leave?
There are so many reasons that we could never possibly list them all. Maybe they weren’t performing their duties or they got a better opportunity elsewhere. Maybe their spouse landed a big promotion in another city, and the whole family is relocating. Perhaps the employee just needs a change of scenery or wants to change careers.
HR departments and business managers need to consider how they can reduce unwanted staff turnover. However, staff turnover is inevitable. It is always useful to try to truly understand why employees leave. This information can be very instructive in improving the company.
So how can you handle staff turnover? This includes:
Let’s review some of the important considerations to simplify the transition process.
Start the Process Right With a Dated Resignation Letter
Figure Out the “Why” If An Employee Leaves On Bad Terms
As soon as the employee leaves, you need to send out a letter informing the team. There’s no need to get negative or to share unnecessary information, just say something like “the former employee is searching out different opportunities effective immediately.”
You also need to reassign responsibility and to reassure the team that you are working to find a new team member.
Next, you will need to determine why the employee is leaving on bad terms. Assuming your investigation reveals legitimate concerns, the goal is to eliminate or reduce such problems in the future. It is important to consider the following questions:
What To Do When a Good Team Member Leaves
Sometimes, you will not want to see the employee leave and he or she will fulfill their duties until the end of their notice. In some cases, there are conditions you can “mitigate” to keep the employee on staff. For example, you might offer them a pay raise or a change in their current status. When good employees leave it is, again, necessary to find our their reason(s) for leaving. If you are able to keep a desired employee by some action, what do you need to do to ensure other desired employee don’t get to the point of quitting. This is valuable learning for the the company.
However, the employee may have made a firm decision to leave. In this case, let them know how much you appreciate their contributions and that they were a valuable part of the team. A good employees is normally very respected by his or her peers. While you may be frustrated that he or she is leaving, remember that how you treat this employee on their way out will be seen and internalized by many others in the organization. Being respectful and appreciative to this valued employee upon exit will enhance your and the company’s standing in the eyes of the other employees.
The soon-to-be ex-employee can use that two weeks to train team members to take over their responsibilities. Of course, even a valuable employee won’t necessarily be valuable during their final two weeks. If they are going to be a distraction, it might be better to let them resign immediately.
If you do require their expertise for training purposes, make their exit as easy as possible. They will not respond in a positive manner if you slap an enormous workload on their desk on top of asking them to show someone how to do it. Leverage their notice to tap into their skill sets they have developed over their career with your company.
Handling the Notification Process/ Exit Interview
Often, HR departments are the first to learn of an employee’s resignation. This means you may have informed his or her department. At this stage, you need to provide a timeline both for the employee’s departure and also a tentative timeline to replace him or her. Always be gracious as it sends a powerful message to other employees.
Next, conduct an exit interview. The goal is to find out why the employee is leaving and if you can avoid similar situations in the future. Exit interviews can be immensely helpful for self-improvement.
Finally, if the employee is a respected member of the team, you can let them send out a farewell email approved by management. It may also be appropriate to allow them to hold (or even have the company host) a farewell lunch or to invite team members out after work.
Have a Referral Letter Ready
Never overlook a valuable employee’s considerable contributions. If the employee is leaving without a next job, send him or her off not just with a farewell letter but a recommendation letter as well. This will help him or her further their career. Even if you don’t want them to leave, it still makes sense to help them in the future.
It’s quite likely that they’ll recommend your firm to potential clients and future employees. It’s wise to have a basic template and approach for your recommendation letters.
Fill the Position With the “Right” Replacement
It’s smart to ask both the departing employee and their team to list out responsibilities. This will help you when looking for the right future employee. Often, job roles change so the responsibilities may have evolved. By figuring out how the role may have changed, you can better identify your next great employee. This is also a perfect time to reassess departmental structures and look for opportunities to promote from your employee base.
While seeking a replacement it may be smart to use an interim external resource to fill the gap if you do not have the right resource to plug in or if there is just too much work to accomplish with the remaining employees. A bungled transition can weigh down your company, reducing productivity and even hurting your company culture. However, a well-managed transition will ensure that your business continues to hum along. Lauber Business Partners can frequently fill such interim positions with experienced resources that can hit the ground running.
Transitions are a Challenge but also Provide Opportunity
Transitions are rarely a good thing in and of themselves. Even if it’s an undesired employee who’s leaving, you have to ask yourself how you got to that point. Bad hiring practices? Office politics? If it’s a desired employee, you need to figure out what you could have done to retain their talents. Pro-actively managing the transition can help ensure a smooth process while also learning lessons for the future.
When it comes to high-skill positions, such as senior software developers, key executives, or business leaders, the transition will be even more difficult. However, by working with HR consultants and fractional HR companies, you can smooth even these transitions.
Give us a call at 414-273-8060 or contact us via email at email@example.com to learn more about what will work best for your company.