Culturedation: Handling your Employee’s Resignation positively for your Company Culture

No matter how great your company culture is, there will always be employees who will eventually resign and leave your company.

In fact, some reasons are beyond your control, such as:

  • Seeking to work in a different environment than yours (e.g. different industry)
  • Receiving a job offer elsewhere with a significantly higher remuneration package your company can't match
  • Choosing to pursue further studies and education full-time

You may be heavy-hearted to see the employee go (especially if he/she has been in your company for some time), but it is vital you handle your employee's resignation positively, as this is a reflection on your company culture.

Here are some principles you can apply in handling your employee's resignation positively, with the 3 E's:

  • Enquire
  • Efficient
  • Express Gratitude

1. Enquire

When your employee submits his/her resignation, it is very likely he/she will also state the reason for resignation together. However, it is best that you still schedule time separately to enquire further over a chat to have better context on this.

Some reasons of resignation are beyond your control as earlier mentioned. Some reasons however, if managed well, may possibly even enable you to still retain the employee, with a retraction of resignation after his/her further consideration. For example:

  • Resigning due to relocation, can remote working be arranged?
  • Resigning due to job scope, can the job scope be redesigned, or even a transfer to a different department be considered?
  • Resigning due to internal misunderstandings, can this be resolved, even collectively with other impacted employees (if any) amicably?

Take note that some resigning employees may not be comfortable to share further on their reasons, even rejecting an exit interview with HR. Some who share, may remain firm on their decision to resign as well. If so, respect their choice and don't take it personally.

This is also an opportunity to gather useful feedback and valuable insights on areas of improvement for your company from the resigning employee.

2. Efficient

As you handle your employee's resignation, remember to be efficient throughout the entire process and necessary steps, working closely with your HR.

Some key considerations:

  • When will be the resigning employee's last day of working?
  • What are the pending job tasks to be completed, and how will they be delegated?
  • What are the required job knowledge transfer to be done?
  • Who are the necessary stakeholders that need to be notified (e.g. clients, vendors etc)?
  • Will you be hiring a replacement headcount to take over the resigning employee's position?

In addition to being a form of respect to your resigning employee's decision, being efficient here helps you smoothen the transition process alongside the necessary handover of job responsibilities too.

3. Express Gratitude

Take this opportunity with sincere intentional efforts to express gratitude to your resigning employee for his/her contributions to your company.

Some ideas you can consider:

  • Farewell message/card
  • Farewell meal/party
  • Farewell gift/token

Don't forget to offer support and assistance to the resigning employee (if applicable) in helping him/her transition as well. This could be in a form of writing a recommendation letter and/or offering to become a referee for future reference checks.

Concluding remarks

The way your employee's resignation is handled reflects your company culture.

It is important you handle this positively, with proper acknowledgement to your employee's contributions and minimising any potential workflow disruptions from his/her departure.

Handle this in a positive manner, leaving the door open for future collaboration opportunities with the resigning employee. In fact, he/she may actually return as a boomerang employee in the future, or work together in a different capacity (e.g. client, vendor, strategic partner etc).


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