Whether you run a family-owned bakery, or you are the head of a large marketing company, handling employees who wish to continue their career elsewhere can be a bitter pill to swallow. Not every company has their fair share of dramatic “walkaways”, but you nonetheless need to be prepared to tackle any possible situation that can come your way.
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Although you might not be able to predict that someone in your company is about to hand in their notice, preparing for the possibility is as vital as having an onboarding process. Depending on the employee in question, as well as your relationship with them, there are several ways you can make this transition as seamless as possible for all parties involved.
1. Understand the circumstances
Especially if you run a growing company and you cannot keep track of all the daily intricacies of their work, you should have an honest conversation regarding their decision. The way you treat their choice can make an enormous difference in how they will behave during the last few weeks of their notice period.
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Perhaps your employee had a falling out at the office and no longer feels appreciated, they might have made a mistake on a project and feel obligated to hand in their resignation, or perhaps they just received a better offer. Either way, an honest talk one-on-one can give you an insight into their decision, and that can in turn help you improve your overall working conditions for other employees, as well.
2. Follow the procedure
It’s essential that there is a step-by-step process to go through, so make sure that the contractual obligations are met on both ends. If your employee has decided to tell you their decision in person, remind them that they should also send an official letter of resignation to the HR department, and allow them to decide how they want to break the news to their colleagues. Reviewing their settlement is another part of the procedure you should consider, especially if they have some left-over bonuses and salary to receive.
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On the other hand, there are bound to be some loose ends when they decide to resign, but your business should not suffer as a result of their decision. If you are their supervisor, find a way to handle existing projects until you delegate tasks to your other employees, or until you find someone who will take their spot.
3. Finding a replacement
Sometimes hiring a replacement may not be necessary, which you will decide only after you conduct a thorough analysis of your employee’s involvement in a given project. Depending on the scope of the work, chances are that your remaining team members can take on some segments of the work until you are able to train your new employee.
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This makes for a perfect opportunity to see if their position should be filled right away, or if adding one more employee to another department may be more beneficial to the company. Of course, other team members and your HR will be able to help you make the right call depending on the scope of work ahead.
4. Conduct an exit interview
If everything goes according to plan (without any dramatic door slamming, that is), spare some time to talk to your employee before their notice period is up. By this time, they will have finished with the knowledge-transfer, and you have the perfect chance to have the exit interview to make the transition smooth and seamless.
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This isn’t meant to appear like the Spanish Inquisition, but more like a less formal conversation about their decision to leave the company, expressing your concern if you have done something to prevent it, and how you can make your business better in the future. Would they happily recommend the company to others? What were the best and the least appealing aspects of their job with you? Now’s the time to encourage them to tell you anything that would improve your company.
5. Express your appreciation
With the exception of sudden resignations that end poorly, every employee has given their contribution to the growth of your business. By offering yourself as a reference and a recommendation letter, you will increase your chances for them to do the same in return and refer people to work with you.
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After all, they might end up working with you again down the road, perhaps not as a part of your company, but ensuring friendly and positive relationships will be beneficial for both you and that employee. Of course, if you make it official with a modest going away party and genuine goodbyes, you can rest assured that they will appreciate your effort as much as you have appreciated their hard work.
My name is Raul, editor in chief at Technivorz blog. I have a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.