When Someone Leaves your Company

by Maggie Chisum

Although we are doing our best (like most companies these days) to retain our employees, there will always be people who decide to leave. In fact, 40-50% of American workers say they change jobs every one to five years. So, how can you gracefully accept a resignation when an employee wants to say goodbye? 

Here are our top three tips for seeing an employee out of the door:

  1. Try to stay positive. 
    1. Each person on your team is valuable – that’s why you hired them! It can be a big blow when someone you’ve invested in decides to head to another company, but it’s important to focus on the good things. Don’t let a resignation become a downer or distraction for your team. Continue to stay positive, as best you can. 
  2. Make an action plan.
    1. There are tasks that this individual was assigned that now need to be redistributed. It’s best to make an action plan before their last day, in order to minimize lags in productivity. An SOP, or Standard Operating Procedure, is usually used during this time – ask the person leaving to add personalized notes to make the tasks clearer, or to help the next person onboard more easily.
  3. Celebrate. 
    1. At the end of the day, this employee is going somewhere that is better for them/their family. It stinks to be on the receiving end of a resignation, but it’s great for that individual. In addition to remaining positive when receiving this news, make an effort to publicly celebrate the transition & thank this individual for their contributions. 

No one enjoys having a conversation about leaving, but how you respond to this news is important both to your departing employee and to the culture of your organization. Continue to be humble, supportive, kind, and selfless as you release your employees to advance their careers. It will be the best for everyone, in the end.