“So long, farewell, Auf Weidersehen, goodbye”.

It’s a natural part of the employee lifecycle that at some point it will come to an end and an employee will resign and become a leaver. As an employer, how you deal with the process of a member of staff leaving often says a lot about your business and its culture.

If you have a culture in which open, honest conversation is encouraged then it is unlikely to come as a total surprise when an employee hands in their resignation. They’ll probably already have spoken to you or their manager about looking for a new job and the reasons behind that decision. Sometimes you can affect that thinking if there are issues that can easily be resolved and sometimes that choice is totally beyond your control for example, if you can’t offer the career progression desired by the employee or they are moving away. Whatever way you find out about the resignation it’s important to end the relationship professionally.

When you’re made aware of the resignation, acknowledge it with a letter or an email. By doing so you can confirm the leaving date, set out arrangements for any untaken annual leave, communicate how, when and to whom any company property should be returned, remind the employee of any restrictions in their contract and also thank them in writing for their service and contribution to the business.

It’s always a good idea to hold an exit interview with the employee to gather feedback from them. Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog which focusses more on that subject.

On a practical level you’ll need to notify your payroll and pension provider of the leaver and make sure that their IT access is removed.

Often, when an employee leaves a business the most valuable asset they take with them is knowledge and so a handover is vital. If you’ve managed to recruit a replacement before the employee leaves then they can show the new starter the ropes and hand over to them. In reality, that seldom happens and so the handover should either be to their manager or a colleague who is taking on their responsibilities. Sometimes, it’s impossible to know what you don’t know so ask about current clients, workload and projects, find out who their key contacts are and ideally do some introductions and if they are the only person who works on certain tasks then ask them to produce some simple process maps or guides which can easily be picked up once they’ve gone.

Failure to achieve a happy ending can have wider implications. You could be left with a knowledge vacuum, remaining staff may become unsettled by how things were handled and might also look to leave and with a range of review sites and social media options your leaver might decide to paint a negative picture of your company online which could lead to lasting reputational damage. It’s important therefore to part on good terms, to treat the leaver courteously until the end and to send them on their way to pastures new with a fond “adieu”.

Do you have questions about Handling resignations?

Give us a call at CUBE HR, we’ll be happy to advise you and we have policies and templates available to meet every HR need.

Why not check out our blog on a similar topic Termination – 3 Things You Need to Know

We also have a YouTube channel with loads of handy videos