We use cookies. About our cookie policy

Key resignation? A 4-point checklist to avoid chaos

Posted by on

Having to deal with an employee resignation is part of the inevitable churn of business, especially as regular job hopping is now a normal part of climbing the career ladder.

When any employee quits it’s hard - yet there’s no denying that when a key player announces their plans it has the potential to rock the whole team.

Staff morale can take a nosedive, as those remaining wonder if the grass might also be greener for them, too (particularly if their colleague has hiring power over at their new company). There could also be confusion around roles and an impact on productivity, especially if that person was relied on heavily.

What’s more, your external employer brand can take a hit - especially if that member of the team crosses over to your top competitor.

You probably already have a solid exit strategy in place for when someone leaves (as well as an effective talent retention programme to persuade them to stay).

But there’s no denying that a star professional announcing their resignation can be a dangerous time. So pay extra attention to firming up your current employees - and do all you can to ensure others don’t follow suite. Here’s a six-point checklist to help you do that, hopefully making your team stronger along the way.

1 Get to the heart of the problem

People who might have outwardly seemed happy and engaged can make up their minds to leave for many reasons. Perhaps they got offered something better, or just felt they’d outgrown their current company.

Investors in People’s 2019 Job Exodus Trends research showed the top reason for people to change jobs is for more pay (25%). But interestingly, not feeling valued and having work-related stress also clocked in joint-second at 16%.

To check that they’re not leaving because of a situation you can change, ask that person for honest (and we mean really honest) feedback. This includes their reasons for leaving, as well as their ideas on how the role, team or organisation could perform better. This perspective could be worth its weight in gold for future talent retention.

2 Involve your remaining team

It’s a tricky time, but make sure you stay authentic and transparent with your remaining team.

Use any feedback your leaver has given you, asking employees how they feel about things - and brace yourself for some negative comments just in case.

People watch closely for how others are treated on their way out. Publicly thanking someone for great work they’ve done is the right thing to do, no matter how disruptive their departure.

3 Rethink things if necessary

Going by the feedback your star employee has given you, is it time to rethink the remit of the role they’re about to leave? Would it be wise to add in new training and development elements, or workplace benefits?

Their comments help keep their internal replacement in the role, or help you recruit someone who performs just as well - or even better - next time.

4 Make sure the leaver transfers their knowledge

Keeping things friendly with your soon-to-leave employee boosts the chances of them passing all their know-how on.

From daily admin details like contacts, deadlines, file maintenance to even them helping you write the job description for their replacement, the more good information they impart before leaving makes it easier to minimise disruption and get the remaining team back on track.

Can you emerge stronger than ever?

Many clients come to us at RHL just as they’re about to lose a valued member of staff and need our help recruiting a brilliant professional technical replacement.

While a highly-talented employee leaving is clearly a disruptive time, it’s true that businesses keen to learn lessons from a significant departure always fare better in the long term and can even emerge stronger than ever.