One of Your Best Resigns

March 26, 2021

You think it will never happen and then it does. One of your best employees just resigned. You’re stunned. You never thought this would happen. Of course, it does happen all the time. Movement between jobs is a natural progression as employees seek increased pay, more responsibility, and flexible working conditions. Effects of the global pandemic have added to job movement with companies allowing employees to work from home, have more flexibility with on-site work schedules, or even relocating from one city to another. 

Courses of Action

So, the unthinkable happens when a star employee resigns, and now you have to figure out what to do. There are several courses of action to take. Some are good; others not so good. The action taken when this situation occurs can chart the future in many different ways. At this point in time, the following can happen:

  • Wish the employee the best of luck and start thinking about a replacement.
  • Emotionally try to convince the employee to stay.
  • Offer the employee an increase in pay and benefits.
  • Analyze why the employee is leaving.
  • Terminate the employee immediately regardless of the amount of advance notice.
  • Make disparaging comments to other employees about the departing employee not being loyal.

A decision should be made, of course, that will be the best for the company and best for the morale of other employees. One thing is certain. Making disparaging comments about a departing employee produces no positive results. Any behavior of this type simply lowers the respect of management from other employees who might have developed a close relationship with the departing employee. When negative comments are made about a friend or colleague, it is only natural to come to that person’s defense. So, instead of one of the best employees resigning, management now has a secondary problem dealing with a group of unhappy employees. 

A Time to Learn

Since employees resign for many different reasons, it is important to determine why the employee is leaving and learn from the situation in an attempt, if possible, to prevent future star employees from leaving. Perhaps, it is pay, benefits, working conditions, responsibilities, internal communication, job stability, growth possibilities, management philosophy, etc. Whatever the reason for an employee leaving, open and frank communication can be extremely beneficial that can produce positive future results. This can be at the time of the resignation or during a more formal exit interview with someone in management not directly managing the departing employee. 

Convince to Stay

There is always the question, “Should management try to convince the departing employee to stay?” Depending on the primary reason for leaving, there might be occasions in trying to change the employee’s mind. Possibly, pay could be increased, hours changed, or responsibilities added. Of course, convincing the employee to stay must be based on why the employee decided to leave in the first place.

It is important to remember that the employee decided to leave for one or more reasons, and most of those reasons will not change significantly enough in the future to keep the employee satisfied over a long-term period of time. Whatever factor or factors that caused dissatisfaction today will most likely occur sometime in the future again causing the employee to question whether to stay or leave.

Two Schools of Thought

Consequently, there are two schools of thought when it comes to enticing an employee to stay once the decision has been made to resign. One is to meet any employee requests within reason to keep the person on board. The other is to learn from the resignation in an attempt to prevent future employees from leaving. 

Create Job Satisfaction

Small businesses and SMEs can certainly be at a competitive disadvantage compared to larger companies when it comes to pay, benefits, vacation, job growth, etc. It is imperative, therefore, for small businesses and SMEs to concentrate on providing the most job satisfaction possible for employees. Then, the situation will exist that resignations of star employees are far and few between. 

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