Everything seems to be working perfectly. Your productivity rate is higher than ever, there are no conflicts within the company, and people seem very enthusiastic about their jobs. You are happy and grateful at the same time. If everything stayed at this same status for the rest of your work life, wouldn’t that be just perfect?
Right when you’ve reached your highest point of happiness, your best employee wants to speak to you. He schedules a meeting with you. You meet in your office. He sits down, looks at you, and you know something bad is about to happen. “I want to resign,” he says.
This is something that has happened to numerous managers and employers. When everything goes well, there has to be something that goes wrong. This inconvenience disrupts the harmonious working process you’ve been keeping for weeks. It is disturbing, and it’s sad, but it happens.
How to Handle Losing Important Employees
If this happened to you, don’t freak out. Reading about it is the first step towards overcoming it. Now you need to breathe and think this problem through. You have to react positively, and act like a leader. Here are seven tips on how to cope with this unpleasant situation. Hope it helps!
Although you might be angry or upset about their decision, don’t show it. Be calm and handle the situation smartly. In the end, if you already lost them, there is no need to make a scene out of it. They will probably respect you less if you do that, and losing their respect is not something you want at this point.
Listen to their opinions, and ask why they want to leave. You might find out that you are doing something wrong, and you might have to change that in order to keep your other employees happy. A person quitting can start a chain reaction easily, and you want to avoid that in order to keep your company or department safe. So listen, and improve, don’t judge or ignore.
React normally. Don’t hide your emotions.
Telling them how you feel is never a bad thing. Saying something like “I am extremely sad that you are leaving, you are a valuable asset to our team” is very reasonable. It doesn’t show weakness or loss of power, it shows honesty. And you should never regret being honest, that’s a great value to possess.
Also, think about the fact that it might take a while for a person to resign. You will still see them around the office for at least a week, so reacting aggressively will make your relationship worse. And why would you want that? It does not reflect well on you and your leadership skills.
Think about the team.
After you find out the bad news, think about how you are going to deliver the message to the rest of the team. Here are some ideas on what to do.
- Don’t leave your office until you have a clear idea of what you are going to say.
- Meditate on the parts of your company which need improvement, and come up with solutions before you deliver the message.
- Be honest and communicative, and ask your employees if there is anything they want you to change.
- Ask your employees for recommendations to replace the person.
- Stay positive, and be confident in yourself. Everything is going to be OK in the end, all things happen for a reason. This person resigning might have made room in the company for a better, even more productive employer, who knows?
Make sure everybody gets the same message. Don’t gossip.
As a leader, you should know by now that gossiping is the worst way to handle things. After you’ve accepted your employee’s resignation letter, deliver the message. Make sure that all the people get the same message though. Don’t let rumors spread, and make it clear why a person is leaving.
“If someone is missing the day you announce their resignation, inform them separately. Send them a text and break the news for them. Don’t let them be influenced by the rumors,” says Daemon Ray, manager at BestDissertation.
Give them the opportunity to say goodbye. Don’t ignore their take-off.
Make sure you make your former employee feel appreciated for all the work he’s done for your company. Give him the opportunity to say goodbye to his colleagues. You can do that by throwing a party for him. It doesn’t have to be big since you are not celebrating, but make it simple and casual. Show him he’ll be missed, he deserves that.
Keep in touch. Don’t ignore them.
If they need a recommendation from you, don’t play grumpy. Give it to them. There is no reason for holding a grudge against them. Put yourself in their position, and empathize. You might change your perspective. Also, keep in touch with them. Who knows when you are going to need their help in the future? If you keep an open door, their perception of yourself will only improve.
Re-evaluate your business plan and risk management actions.
A great leader has a backup plan in case something like this happens. If you haven’t decided on one by now, you should start thinking about a good plan. You need to consider the possibility of people leaving. Even though it’s not pleasant, it’s a possibility. Optimism won’t help that much in these circumstances.
Make sure there is always somebody in the team who can take the role of the person resigning. For instance, you can adjust your recruitment process, and recruit this type of person next time you hire.
I know managing resignations is difficult, especially when we talk about a valuable employee. Remember that there is nobody in this world that cannot be replaced. Even if you end up hiring a less talented worker, you can train and teach him to be better. Don’t lose hope, keep your head up. Good luck!
Justin is a teacher from Leicester, UK. When not teaching his little students and rooting for Leicester FC, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education and self-improvement with other people on different blogs and forums.