What to Do When an Employee Leaves

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Even the best employers will eventually be in a position where an employee resigns. Here’s what to do when an employee leaves, not only in regard to the departing employee, but the rest of your organization.

How to react when an employee resigns

Although it may be upsetting to lose an employee for any reason, it’s important to maintain a professional demeanor throughout the process. Following protocol not only helps you keep your calm, it helps your other employees from getting caught up in any unnecessary disruption in workflow.
When an employee announces their intention to leave, the first thing an employer needs to do is get a them to write a letter of resignation.  If the employee has provided the standard 2 weeks’ notice, you will need to use that time to wrap up projects, brief colleagues on ongoing projects.
You will also want to:

  • Review an interim plan with existing staff to cover the outgoing employee’s absence;
  • Planning the recruitment of a replacement employee;
  • Conducting an exit interview with the outgoing employee;
  • Perform due diligence with regard to security, such as changing passwords, retaining keys and other assets the outgoing employee may possess.

How do you announce the employee’s resignation?

To notify other employees about someone’s intention to leave, begin by telling the outgoing employee’s own department or close colleagues about the employee’s resignation first, in a one-on-one meeting. A personal touch will go a long way to allay any confusion and make the remaining employees feel satisfied with the outcome.
When employee works out their two week’s notice, send out a notification email to other employees as soon as possible. Be sincere and informal, without being too familiar. Here’ a sample:

John Smith has announced his resignation and is leaving us to pursue a new opportunity, effective <date>. His technical expertise and sense of humour will be missed. Please join me in wishing John tremendous success at his new endeavour. (Optional) We will hold a say good-bye party at Kerry’s Pub on John’s last day which is the 15th. Please join us to wish John success in her new employment and to say good-bye.

Before you send this notification, check with John to see if he is comfortable with it.  He may even have some contact information that he wants to share so people can stay in touch.
Employees like closure when a colleague leaves. A little civility and grace is not only appreciated, it sends a good message to the employees who remain.
This article mainly addresses what to do when an employee leaves on good terms. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If an employee leaves on less than optimal terms, consult these resources for assistance:


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