“I Quit!” How To Handle An Employee Resignation

While it may not seem like it at first, the resignation of a staff member can bring some positives, writes Kirstie McDermott.

There has been a lot of talk lately about “The Great Resignation” and, as the world looks to right itself after the chaos of the last few years, the consensus is that many people are seeking new job opportunities. Some industries have undergone huge levels of transformation, be it remote working or a change of focus in the business model, and workers are seeking changes of their own.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1.3 million people (almost 10% of the Australian workforce) changed jobs in the year to February 2022, the highest annual job mobility rate since 2012. All this change has an impact on businesses and staff, and the departure of an employee undoubtedly results in certain challenges.

When it comes to resignations the focus is often on the employee – how they shouldn’t burn their bridges by leaving before fulfilling the notice period or avoiding letting rip about soon-to-be-former colleagues in their exit interview. Often overlooked is you, the employer, who now has to navigate the absence of a staff member in what is a challenging job market. And if you are an employer, handling a staff resignation properly is not just advisable, it’s essential.

People leave jobs for all sorts of reasons – and do so in different ways, too – but no matter the circumstances, for you as an employer being professional and gracious when faced with this situation is the best thing you can do.

It can be a shock when a good employee tells you they’re leaving, but dealing with it appropriately helps to ensure a smooth handover of their role as you navigate the challenge of replacing them. Keeping things amicable is also wise for your reputation as an employer. In the beauty industry, word of mouth still has an enormous impact on a business’ reputation. It does no one – neither employee nor employer – any favours to react negatively to an employee resignation.

Keep in mind too that a good exit process can also keep the door open for staff to return at some stage. Many businesses have benefited from a former staff member returning with more experience and new, exciting ideas under their belts.

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The employee resignation checklist

When an employee tells you they’re leaving it’s only natural that your mind will skip five steps ahead trying to plan for their departure. That’s why it’s helpful to have a checklist so you can keep on top of the process. Don’t wait until an employee resigns to set this up – know ahead of time what you need to do when faced with this situation:

Get their resignation in writing

Your employee might tell you verbally of their intention to leave but you should always get it in writing too. It’s not uncommon for people to change their minds about leaving so this step will confirm their plans. It also ensures that there is no confusion later on as to whether they’re leaving of their own accord or were let go.

Formally accept their resignation

This can be done verbally or in writing, but the latter keeps everyone on the same page. It’s also a good time to confirm their notice period and other details, so they know what to expect of their last day.

Be compassionate

When accepting a resignation, regardless of the reasons, show compassion and outline how sorry you’ll be to see them go. Remember past and current employees are some of your greatest brand ambassadors so where possible, show understanding for their reasons for leaving and wish them well. Where appropriate offer a reference letter.

Conduct an exit interview

The exit interview is an opportunity to find out about any issues in your business or how it’s being perceived – and in the long run it could prevent other staff from leaving too. Why is the employee leaving? Is it due to salary, a lack of career progression or new opportunities? Or are there issues in the wider business that have prompted them to leave, such as a problematic colleague or work culture? While it can be challenging to hear negative feedback this is a valuable process. And the outgoing employee may appreciate the chance to give their thoughts as they prepare to move on.

Protect yourself

It can be easy to be informal in this situation, especially if it’s a longstanding staff member and a friendly departure, but always keep a record. Duplicate your acceptance letter and keep any email correspondence clear and professional. Confirm details such as notice period, the handover process and final payslips so there is no confusion on any side.

Remember, while it may not seem like it at first, the departure of a staff member can bring some positives. You may become aware of weak spots in the business through the exit interview, giving you the chance to improve how things operate. A vacancy can also show remaining staff that they can progress their careers within the business, as it may be possible to promote from within and move experienced staff up their career ladder, before heading to the Professional Beauty Job Board to find enthusiastic new hires.

Experienced staff are a huge plus for any business, but it’s worth noting that long-standing teams can sometimes stagnate a little. New hires will bring ideas and fresh energy into your business. So take a leaf out of your departing staff member’s book and focus on the exciting new opportunities ahead.

If you want to post your job to our Professional Beauty Job Board, get in touch today.

And if you’re more interested in exploring your career potential, browse all the open positions waiting for your application.

This article was produced in partnership with Jobbio.

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