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Mary Pomerantz

How to Deal with Employee Resignations

Mary Pomerantz

Ms. Pomerantz is the CEO of TPG HR Services USA and has over 35 years of Human Resources practices experience. She holds a Master’s in Human Resource Management (MHRM) and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Mary also serves as CEO of Mary Pomerantz Advertising, one of the largest recruitment advertising agencies in the country. Earlier in her career, she was president of the 17th largest staffing firm in the country.

employee leaving following the office, something that happens following employee resignations

There’s nothing you can do about it – employee resignations are an inevitability in business life. No matter how great your workplace is, no matter how many perks and benefits you offer, some of your employees will leave for any number of reasons. Perhaps they found a better job opportunity. Maybe they need to take care of a child or an aging parent. They may have to move to another state. There are endless reasons why employees leave jobs. As a business owner or manager, you should be careful of how you react. Follow these dos and don’ts as a general guide to handling employee resignations.

Don’t Take It Personally

When the person you’ve been grooming as your replacement or someone who is a key lynchpin in your company gives you his or her resignation, it may blindside you. It’s hard not to feel deserted at this time. But the worst thing you can do is take it personally. Your departing employee is not leaving because he wants to make your life difficult. He may not even be leaving because he had a particular problem with your company. As stated earlier, there are dozens of reasons why employees resign. Try not to take it personally.

piecharts and icons symbols representing employees showing different reasons for employee resignations.

Know the Protocol

If you don’t have a procedure for when an employee unexpectedly resigns, you need to create one immediately. Do you give a counteroffer? Should the employee be immediately escorted out of the building by security? When do you conduct the exit interview? There should be very little uncertainty about what happens next after employee resignations.

Don’t Express Relief Publicly

You should never let your professionalism betray you. In some cases, you may be happy that the employee is resigning. It may have saved you from going through the process of firing her. But don’t go running to another one of your employees and reveal that you’re relieved by the resignation. First, it makes you look petty and unprofessional. Second, it will make your other employees wonder what secret feelings you’re harboring about them.

Offer Congratulations

Show your grace and class by offering your departing employee a genuine congratulation if she is leaving for a better opportunity. Perhaps announce the resignation in a company-wide email, wishing her luck in her new position and recognizing some of her accomplishments while working with your company. You can even express some regret in losing such a high-performing employee if that’s reflective of how you feel.  

older businessman shaking hands and congratulating younger businesswoman

Don’t Ignore the Transition Process

Hopefully, your employee had the decency to give you two weeks’ notice, though this is not always the case. If you get a week or two, you should immediately begin focusing on the transition period. Who will take over his job responsibilities? Who will interface with his clients? How will you replace him long-term? Your resigning employee can be of great help in easing this transitional period and reducing the disruption in your workflow. Don’t waste this valuable time. Make sure you have a plan or come up with one immediately.

Consider the Reasons for Employee Resignations

Sometimes an employee’s departure has little to do with you or your company. However, there are times when it is directly or indirectly related to your business, managers or something else at your company. Exit interviews can sometimes give insight into any potential problems that might be happening at your company that existing employees may not have been comfortable sharing. The most extreme examples would be any potential hostile work environments or inappropriate behaviors such as sexual harassment.

businesswoman talking to a female employee who has resigned from the company

Remember That Employees Come and Go

If you’ve been a business owner or manager long enough, you know that employees come and go all of the time. Many may even try to come back to your company later on down the line. Don’t leave a bad taste in your resigning employee’s mouth. Don’t damage your reputation by kicking them out of the door. By maintaining professionalism throughout all employee resignations, you position your company to be a desirable return career destination and preserve its employer brand.

Having a team of HR professionals to guide you through this process will make it less likely that you say or do something you will regret. But if you don’t have an onsite HR department, you could be setting yourself up to mishandle any employee resignations. This is one of the many reasons you should consider an outside HR services provider like TPG HR Services USA.

We are an established human resources firm that works with medium and large businesses throughout the U.S. If you don’t have a dedicated HR team, you are exposing yourself to numerous employee management problems. Protect yourself by partnering with the experienced professionals at TPG HR Services USA. Learn more by contacting us at 732-917-6000.