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When an employee resigns, it creates stress and uncertainty among their co-workers – within their team, their department and possibly even the entire company. How you handle it can have a significant impact on the rest of your organization. As a leader, you set the tone. Have a proactive plan in place, and be ready to begin implementing it immediately.

Take the high road.

If the departing employee is a high performer, news of their resignation will sting. Your initial reaction may be anger, betrayal, frustration, disappointment, or all of the above. Stay Professional, and take the high road.

  • Congratulate and thank the employee. Wish them well in their future endeavors. Regardless of their reason for leaving, it’s up to you to understand that this person has made a decision. Accept it and then move on, without hard feelings.
  • Counter offers are often counterproductive. Whether or not to make a counter offer comes down to how critical a person is to you and how much of a disruption their absence will cause. But, most experts caution against taking this step. Once a person has gone through the process of leaving, it’s hard to trust them again. A better strategy is to retain a relationship with them and possibly re-recruit them in the future.
  • Consider the reasons for the resignation. What might you do differently to increase retention in this role in the future? For example, do you need to reassess your salary structure or benefits package? Should you be more flexible with hours? This is an opportune time to make whatever changes are needed to enhance your employer value proposition as you prepare to rehire.

Have a communication plan.

Have a plan in place to communicate the resignation to the rest of your company.

  • The departing employee’s team should be the first to know. Before the individual leaves your office, agree on who will deliver the news to the team, and when. Decide collaboratively what the message will be. The sooner the team is able to prepare for the pending change, the better. There is nothing worse than hearing via the grapevine that your boss or close co-worker is leaving.
  • Agree on an end date. Assuming that the resignation is on good terms, give the employee the benefit of the doubt that they will fulfill their responsibilities and set the company up for a smooth transition. Mutually agree on an end date that makes the most sense for everyone.

Have a transition plan.

Iron out a transition plan for the employee’s day-to-day tasks during the coming interim period.

  • Ask for written documentation of work in progress, as well as related details, contacts and deadlines. If the employee leads a team, it’s a good idea to get this information for the entire group’s projects. Get input on who can pick up some of the employee’s duties in their absence. This may have the added benefit of positioning another team member for a future promotion.

As you manage your workforce through change and transition – including filling business critical vacancies created by resignations – consider partnering with the recruitment and employee development experts at PrideStaff Modesto. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do to help you succeed.

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