Resignation best practice Ellis Fox Blog

Hiring for UK Infrastructure – Best practices for handling resignations

There’s mindset that still prevails that he who holds the money holds the power. Unfortunately too often this results in companies overlooking what’s important to their employees and then getting surprised by resignations. When the letter lands in your email, the reality is that it’s probably too late to change things for that particular employee. However, it is an ideal opportunity to learn what went wrong and make changes that’ll create a better work environment in the future. Here’s how:

Respond immediately

Don’t let the letter sit in your inbox for days while you ponder your response. All this communicates to the person is that you don’t care and will reinforce that their decision to leave was the right one. They’re less likely to leave quietly or co-operate in doing an effective handover, because if you don’t care, why should they? Perhaps you’re not sad they’re leaving, still treat them with respect. They’re still likely to talk about their working experience at the company. Even if it wasn’t good, it will reflect better if it ends on a positive note. Take the opportunity to ask questions about why they’re leaving in an empathetic way and try to get them to agree to do a handover and exit interview. Use this as a bargaining chip if need be as they may not want to work their full notice.

Listen to and act on feedback

Industry stats show that often if resigning employees are convinced to stay, they usually end up leaving anyway within a few months. In the end it’s not about money. If there’s a toxic work environment, or systems that frustrate a person’s ability to do their work, promises won’t change that. And if it’s affecting one person, it’s likely affecting a number of people. How many resignations will it take before someone admits there’s a problem?  It takes decisive action from leadership to change a company culture and it speaks volumes about an organization if they’re willing to do that for the sake of their employees.

Resignations are costly, especially if they’re top employees. It may be too far gone to turnaround that initial resignation, but the future impact for the company as a whole can be mitigated if the resignation is handled with respect, empathy, and with the view on continuing a positive working relationship within the broader industry.