There’s a lot to think about when an employee resigns. From finding a replacement to completing the exit interview, several layers of detail must be addressed.
The employer is processing their own feelings of surprise, anger, disappointment or relief – all while maintaining an air of professionalism. It’s a scenario every boss will face at some point. Follow these tips to make the transition seamless.
Assess other working arrangements.
A supervisor might be able to identify an alternative to losing a valued member of the team. For example, if an outstanding employee has changing family circumstances that demand more of their time or if they are relocating for a spouse’s job, perhaps there’s a way to modify their role (such as a flexible schedule or telecommuting) if both parties would prefer that the person continue working for the company.
Keep staff informed.
Once a person submits their resignation, decide how to announce it to the group. If it’s someone who is a key part of the team, it may be difficult news to deliver, but do so without a negative tone. A leader’s duty in times of change is to help keep morale and a sense of purpose as high as possible, so don’t act as though the company is doomed.
Look for opportunities to promote from within.
Notify employees that the job is open and applications are being accepted. You may be surprised at the interest and talent one of your existing employees can bring to the position. They will already have a keen understanding of the corporate culture and will likely acclimate to the new role more easily than a recruit.
Decide how to inform clients.
Depending on the industry, the employee’s role and the reason for leaving, it may be best for a supervisor to reach out to clients to inform them of the upcoming departure and reassure them their account will be covered through the transition. Be sure to personally introduce their new contact, whether it’s a replacement or an interim person from your staff who will assist until the right candidate is found.
Make a transition plan.
As soon as someone gives their notice, meet with them to discuss where they are on current projects, any plans on the horizon and who the main contacts are. Ask them to come up with a two-week plan (or however long their notice is) to wrap up work. Touch base throughout the remainder of their tenure, so there are no surprises once they are gone.
Figure out who will cover the work.
If you don’t have a replacement lined up right away, other employees will have to pick up the slack. Figure out how much each member of your team has on their plate and who can handle some extra assignments temporarily. Let each person know you realize it means extra work for them, but it could also mean new opportunities if they are interested in taking on additional tasks or learning new skills.
When the departure is friendly, let them know they will be missed. Take some time out of the workday to give everyone a chance to recognize their colleague and wish them well, whether it’s a goodbye lunch or refreshments in the meeting room. Be sure to thank them for their loyal service. With the frequency of job changes in today’s fast-paced workforce, your paths will likely cross again.
You may also find Five Reasons Employees Leave helpful. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, read her Inc. contributions, subscribe to her articles on Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.