What Should You Do If Your Best Employee(s) Resigns Today?

It’s always a shock when one of your most capable employees suddenly hands in their resignation. It’s even worse when you’re not prepared for the scenario. 

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when this happens, but prolonged inaction aggravates and contributes to company losses if not dealt with properly. So, it’s best to know how to proceed when the time comes. 

In this article, we will provide you with some clear-cut guidelines on how you can deal with the unexpected resignation of one of your best employees. 

Don’t Panic

The worst thing you can do when one of your employee’s leaves is panic. If you panic, you are bound to make a decision that can exacerbate the company’s losses. When you respond to your employee’s resignation emotionally, then you risk having your employee leave your company on the wrong terms. Furthermore, responses like these can compromise your reputation as a manager and your company. As a manager, you need to take responsibility and ensure that the scenario doesn’t reflect poorly on your department. 

Know The Protocol

First and foremost, you need to consult the company procedures to handle these kinds of situations. Many companies’ HR protocols dictate that an employee should give a notice period, typically ranging from one week to three months before resigning. This way, the element of surprise is eliminated from the equation.

If possible, maybe you can negotiate with your employee for a slightly longer notice period until you find a replacement. In any case, knowing the protocols of your company makes it easier for you to deal with these situations. 

Find out the reason for them leaving

Another crucial action to take here is to ask your employee why they are leaving their current job. In many instances, you won’t have any control over the employee’s decisions; however, sometimes you will be able to come up with a solution, or at the very least, can prevent more employees from leaving. 

Maybe the reason your employee is leaving has to do with the office environment, or the ongoing work-from-home debate. In that case, you can develop an actionable plan to improve the work environment in your office, or consider adjusting your work-from-home policy. Consider this moment an opportunity to reflect on your company’s work ethics and improve. 

Try to fill the gap

What you need to do after you hear about the resignation is immediately come up with a hiring strategy. Depending on your situation, your company might be in urgent need of a new employee.

Inform your HR department to formalise a job opening. Ask your fellow professionals if they know a capable person with relevant skills. In the meantime, see if one of the employees in your team can take on the duties your former employee used to perform. Remember, internal recruitment can be an effective way of filling a vacant role with a qualified candidate.

Don’t burn bridges

Just because the employee is leaving, it doesn’t mean respect and understanding falls away. Maintaining the relationship, even after the employee has left is essential as this upholds your company’s reputation and leaves open a window of opportunity if your employee ever decides to return to your company.

One way of doing this is to throw a farewell party for your employee. Acknowledge your former employee’s contributions to your organisation and wish them luck in their future endeavours. This also sends a positive message for the rest of the employees, and they feel good about being a part of your team. 

Preserve Institutional Knowledge

This is one of the most important actions to take for the betterment of your company. Never leave valuable company information about procedures in the head of an employee. If you do that, then the moment that employee leaves, your company will face a massive loss of institutional knowledge. 

Ensure that the institutional knowledge is stored in some repository to collaborate on and communicate to other employees. It will also reduce your newly hired employees’ learning curve and help your company get back on track even if your best employees decide to leave.

Final Thoughts

There you have it – a list of things to do when your company faces a sudden employee resignation. Even though this situation cannot always be avoided, careful strategising can minimise the adverse effects. 

Want to learn more about the benefits of internal recruitment strategies? We’ve done the research for you. 

Author: Danny Main is a co-owner & Director at Responsum Global. He has over 15 years’ experience matching the top building services engineering talent with the best employers. He has over 100 written success stories. He’s active on LinkedIn, is a host on The Building Services Podcast, and a regular writer on The Building Services Blog. He loves football, talking properties and owns a cat that is bigger than his dog.

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