How to Handle an Employee Resignation

Employee resignation is something you will eventually have to handle, especially if you are working in the HR Department. Not getting to see your coworker anymore is always an unfortunate case, especially if you are on friendly terms with them, but this is a normal occurrence in the corporate world. Like all things, there is a set of rules on how to handle employee retention especially if your job is an HR role. how-to-handle-a-resignation-from-an-employee

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How to Handle an Employee Resignation

What to Do When An Employee Resigns

Don’t Judge

If you are not pleased that a particular employee of yours is resigning, do not let it show. Be calm and professional during this conversation, as the employee might already be anxious about this. Consider the reasons employees resign. It could be that something serious is happening in their personal life, or they have found better career opportunities elsewhere. Take note of their reasons as it might concern the environment of your workplace, and you will be able to improve on it. Being open and respectful to those who wish to exit the company is also a great way of maintaining employee relations between them and the management.


It doesn’t necessarily mean that you and the employee have to have a long conversation. Keep the conversation in an understanding tone and be informative to the employee about this whole process. Tell them what is going to happen after they tender in their resignation, and what other requirements they would need to fulfill to part ways properly. Ask the employee if they have something important to say regarding their time under the company. And don’t stop there. Check up on them as they near their last days to see if they are still firm on their decision or if they have changed their mind.

Conduct an Exit Interview

To follow the policies of your company and practice employee management, conduct an exit interview to have a proper conversation with the employee. Doing this allows you and your employees to have proper closure and make the transition process official. Depending on the employee’s job, you can use this opportunity to discuss plans on how the resignation will be done and if any replacement needs to be found beforehand. Take the time to also ask for the employee’s feedback. That way you can improve and reduce the employee turnover rate of your company.

Have a Backup Plan

Suppose you belong to a company with a very low turnover rate. While that is all good and spares you a lot of work, it is important to have a backup plan. Besides resignation, employees can still cut ties from your company through other means, so having a contingency plan lets you make sure that the work can still go on despite the decrease in manpower. Usually, a backup plan for an employee’s sudden resignation is to train another employee to do the same job and potentially take over just in case.

Develop a Transition Plan

When it comes to employee retention, you’ll have to ensure that the work they bring to the table doesn’t end with them. Develop a transition plan so that another employee can take the job and the productivity of the workplace doesn’t go down. During the resigning employee’s last days, have another coworker learn from them so that they may be able to take over or have someone to hold the fort until a suitable replacement is found. Create an outline for the training of the replacement so that the transition of job responsibilities goes without a hitch.

Evaluate the Need for a Replacement

When an employee resigns, it is important to think about the job position involved. To decide whether a replacement is needed, you need to ask yourself these questions; is the job vital to the company? Is the job something that can be achieved through other means? Do you have the time and budget to train a replacement? Whatever the answers will be, it’ll give you the time to look for a replacement right away, or save costs and look for alternatives.

Assess Security Risks

To make an assessment, keep a checklist, and take into account any security risks that could occur once an employee resigns from your company. Have the employee sign a post-employment agreement in order to ensure that they keep their time in the company confidential, or say anything that could put the company at risk. Ensure that the also surrender any security-related items such as electronic ID Cards and company-issued devices. Change the passwords of company accounts as well to prevent any security breaches from occurring.

Inform Coworkers About the Resignation

Everyone needs to be in the loop, so inform them when an employee tenders in their resignation. Take note this doesn’t mean you are supposed to go around and spread this as gossip. Report this information through official channels like through e-mail and limit it to the knowledge of the management and the team/coworkers that the employee works with. It is necessary to do as well as it lets everyone be aware of the changes that are to come upon the employee’s exit.

Prepare Final Paperwork

It is important to keep physical records of the employee’s resignation. You may have them sign a resignation letter detailing the reasons for their exit and that they left voluntarily. And suppose you weren’t able to get a resignation letter then simply document the reasons yourself. You may also notify payroll and the employee benefits department of their exit so that they may update and do the last of their obligations to the employee. Collect every company issued property from them as well.

What Happens When an Employee Resigns?

When an employee leaves the company, it will certainly cause the workflow to go slow. However, if the employee is given time to tender in their resignation, they can train a replacement employee assigned by the company to take over and ensure that workflow remains consistent after the resignation is complete.

One way you can inform HR is through verbal means or emailing them of the employee’s resignation. Often sending an email is the preferred method as that can be considered official documentation of the employee’s decision. You will also need to present a resignation letter signed by the employee announcing their intentions of exiting voluntarily.

Resigning Properly versus Point-blank Quitting

Resignation is an employee’s way of announcing their voluntary exit from their job formally. Quitting, on the other hand, is the same thing but in an informal way. When resigning, an employee renders a few weeks’ notices and work the remaining mandated days required, while those who quit can simply walk out on their job. Make sure not to quit right then and there. It is not possible. Legally speaking, an employee is mandated to render a few more weeks of work, get their final pay, and then resign. However, there have been cases where an employee has informally announced their resignation and left their job without properly rendering the mandated hours of work.

A lot of people assume that when you tender in your resignation, the employer can refuse and keep you in your job, when in fact that is not the case at all. Legally speaking once a notice of resignation is given and is valid, the employer cannot refuse it unless the employee changes their mind.

The exit of an employee whether through resignations or firing and termination is certainly a challenge for the HR department to deal with. But with a couple of practice and performance management, you will be able to handle them without stress and walk your employees to the door.