29 Mar Has a member of your team resigned? Here’s the best way to react
We all know that the age-old adage of a ‘job for life’ is well and truly a thing of the past. In fact, according to a survey by Deloitte, nearly half of all millennials plan to leave their current jobs within the next two years – that’s one in two people.
Teamed with the fact that we are all going to be working for longer, some well into our 70s and even 80s, it’s becoming far more likely that one of your team members will resign in the not-too distant future – and if you think about it, it makes sense that they will.
As our CEO, Alistair Cox says in a LinkedIn Influencer blog: “to remain engaged and happy throughout these additional decades of working, employees will naturally crave variety, and lots of it. And what’s one of the best ways to do this? To explore new job opportunities at new companies more regularly. This all means that quitting may become more and more frequent, and this is something we as employers need to recognise, anticipate and plan for.”
Here’s the best way to handle your new employee resignation
For all too many managers, however, it can still be shocking when a member of their team – especially a high-performing one – arranges a meeting with them and proceeds to hand in their notice.
That initial feeling of shock is completely understandable. After all, this is an employee you rely on, who you’ve invested in developing, who brings real value to your team and the wider business – and they’ve just told you that they’re leaving.
It’s also completely understandable to feel personally attacked on some level, or maybe even rejected. But it’s important that you take a deep breath and try to keep things in perspective.
- Stay calm and don’t panic: Life will go on once an employee , even though it might not seem like it at the moment. Even if you’re anxious to begin with – which is understandable – you’ll find a solution that will enable your team to continue to survive and thrive. See this as a fresh start, an opportunity to think about realigning the focus of the role that they’re leaving vacant for the better. It could also be a good time to give a well-deserved promotion to a remaining member of the team, meaning you won’t need to start from scratch in finding someone new.
- Don’t take it personally: Yes, it’s very easy to feel offended as a manager when an employee quits on you. While there can be a lot of truth in the saying that ‘employees leave managers, not companies’, there may also be other factors at play, so you should always investigate these before concluding that the employee is resigning due to your management style. In any case, the decision to leave a company is a deeply personal one to that individual, with the key factors often being very different from one resignation to the next. So, don’t jump to any conclusions without having an honest conversation with the employee – which leads me to my next point.
- Find out what the worker’s reasons for leaving actually are: This is definitely a time for listening, rather than talking. Try to find out what reasons might exist, beyond what your departing employee may have initially told you. Are there lessons that you can learn for the future? Perhaps there are ingrained issues that leave a continuing risk of further employee resignations in the future, and which you therefore need to tackle right now? However, if the problem is your management style, see this as a learning opportunity that will lead you to become a better and more self-aware manager. It may also appear that the employee has made a somewhat heat-of-the-moment decision– in which case, it might be worth proposing a short cooling-off period, giving them time to consider whether they really are making the best decision. If you think that a counter-offer could help the employee to change their mind, ask them whether they would consider this and what they would be looking for if so.