Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

10 Important HR Tips For What To Do When An Employee Quits

If you're a business owner, you'll know how difficult it is to manage the people who work for you. It can be hard to find the right person in the first place, and then once they've been hired, you need to ensure they're happy and productive.

Unfortunately, many people who move from job to job don’t stick around for long and they'll quit and leave the company with a position to fill.

It can be painful to think about as you're going to have to look for a replacement. Having to recruit someone else makes you feel like you're being pulled in every direction at once. However, there are ways in which you can avoid mass panic and make the best of this situation.

Losing An Employee

If you're a manager, you’re likely concerned about employee turnover and attrition rates. The turnover rate is an indicator of an employer's effectiveness and the overall health of a company.

Every company will have a different definition for these individual statistics, but they are essential metrics often used to gauge if companies are functioning optimally.

For example, you compute the attrition rate for a mid-sized tech company by dividing the number of employees who left during the past year by the average number of employees who started. 

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You determine the employee turnover rate by multiplying the number of employees who left during that period by 100, then dividing that number into the total number of hours worked. In both cases, we can see that employee retention affects profits.

You can lose employees for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Improper management styles
  • Undervaluing your employees
  • Low employee engagement rates
  • Uncompetitive salaries
  • Minimal room for job growth
  • A poor work-life balance
  • Lack of communication
  • Rigid work policies
  • Unclear company culture

Improper Management Styles

Key employees can quickly lose trust in their managers if they don't demonstrate exemplary leadership and motivation skills. Losing trust causes conflict, confusion, and discouragement, leading to your human resources losing morale.

Establishing yourself as a leader and having an effective management style is essential to showing your team how to lead. Encourage them to improve their skills by providing training opportunities. You can look at what needs improvement and increase their efficiency.

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Employees Don't Feel Valued Or Supported

While it's essential to encourage employees to step outside of their comfort zones and try new things after a certain period, it's also essential to make them feel as though they are valued and supported no matter what they do.

To improve employee relationships, this needs to be communicated clearly from the top-down — any less, and you're likely to receive nothing but apathy from your team over a period.

They Aren't Engaged in Their Work

If your key employees aren't involved in their work, they won't be able to take an interest in it. If you're not providing value for your team, there's no need for them to be engaged with it.

Encourage them to continue learning new skills. As a manager, you must see yourself as an educator and provide opportunities for training and development so that your employees can have a strong work ethic, gain positive experience, and feel supported by their work.

Your Salaries Aren't Competitive

Companies are continually competing for the best talent, which means you must offer competitive salaries.

When you fail to provide added perks, your employees will become frustrated because they know they could be earning more money elsewhere and get growth opportunities.

They Aren't Growing as They Expected

Employees can start to feel like they're stagnant — doing the same thing over and over again with no career growth. While it's crucial to instill training, mentoring, and new ideas, sometimes these things aren't enough.

An employee needs more compensation or increased responsibilities to encourage career growth and keep them satisfied.

A Poor Work-Life Balance

On top of everything else, employees want to be able to balance their work and family lives. They desire the flexibility they may not be offered in their current jobs.

If they don’t feel their current employers value them, they might take their hard work to places where they'll receive proper consideration.

It's important to recognize when you ask too much of your team and make changes before it’s too late.

Lack of Communication

Are your employees being kept up-to-date on what's happening at the company? Are they aware of their performance, and do they know where they stand concerning their peers? If the answer is no, you need to change how communication works in your company.

Rigid Work Policies

This is one of the common reasons for people leaving. When you don't give your employees any room for creativity or freedom, they can quickly become uninspired.

Rigid work policies are especially damaging if you're working with a team that thrives on doing things their way and creating new strategies — you don't want to squelch that spirit.

Unclear Company Values, Mission, And Culture

You don't want your employees to feel like they're working for the wrong company. Unclear messages can happen if the company's values and culture do not align with who employees serve and where they're headed. It’s also a prime reason for an employee resigning.

You've Lost An Employee, Now What?

If you just lost an employee, you may be wondering what to do next. Let’s take a look.

1. Get the Resignation in Writing

If a person resigns, your company can be vulnerable to claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, or harassment.

Employers must have documentation of the employee's consent to end their employment contract. It is not enough that the employee verbally tells the employer, "It's time for me to go." 

The employee must back up their request with evidence; in most cases, this becomes a letter of resignation signed by the employee. Employees often give notice of resignation, which is often followed by a notice period after the employer shows acceptance of notice.

2. Do Not React in Anger; Stay on Good Terms

How would you, as an employer, react if a co-worker said to you, "I hate you"? You would probably want to reprimand this person and perhaps even terminate them.

Likewise, when an employee leaves your organization, it is essential not to react in anger but rather wish your employee good luck in their future endeavors unless this employee was causing severe problems for your organization.

3. Make Sure All the Legalities Are in Order

The separation agreement you offer the employee must align with collective bargaining agreements and any state or federal laws that may apply. In addition, you should confirm that any benefits owed to the departing employee are correctly calculated.

Benefits may include pension plan payments, vacation pay, and any company stock associated with the departing employee's resignation.

4. Conduct an Exit Interview

If an employee is leaving you, conducting an exit interview with them is essential. Exit interviews will help the employer become aware of possible problems or issues that might come up later.

It will also help to determine whether the job description of the employee should be changed. If a problem arises, it will be easier for you to respond to the situation.

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5. Ask the Employee for Feedback

After a resignation, it is appropriate to ask an ex-employee for feedback. Keep an open line of communication with the employee to learn how they feel about your company’s working environment and ensure a smooth transition for your team.

HR managers should seek ways to improve current employees' working environment without alienating former employees. Instead, appreciate employees for the hard work they put into a job and how they helped your organization grow and perform well.

6. Be Transparent with Other Employees about Why They Left

Employees leaving your company will likely have to go through a period of soul-searching. They may have given you their word that they would not leave, but sometimes circumstances change. If this is the case, do not hide why the employee is leaving. 

Hiding facts will only confuse and possibly encourage employees in key roles to take advantage of this situation by asking for special treatment.

7. Redistribute Responsibilities ASAP

Make sure you adjust your human resources diagram accordingly so that responsibilities are redistributed efficiently. Other employees should take over the responsibilities of the resigning employee to ensure that all organizational tasks are accomplished before a replacement employee is hired to take over.

Depending on the time of quitting, sharing responsibilities can also give the company more time for succession planning without affecting current projects. When talented people make an unexpected departure, a transition plan may be particularly helpful.

8. Celebrate the Leaving Employee & His/Her Achievements

It's easy to forget that many employees who leave your organization have been with the company for years, perhaps even decades.

You should not keep the fact that an employee has left an organization a secret but rather make it a public affair. To accomplish this, have a departure party for your leaving employee and celebrate their achievements.

9. Have a Reflection Meeting with Your Managers

After an employee leaves the organization, you need to meet with your other managers to see if this departure leaves "holes" in your team.

For example, if the employee was an administrative assistant, have a meeting with other executives and ask if they have noticed anything that has changed in the office operations.

In many cases, it may not be evident that someone has left the organization, and this will alert managers of any extra responsibilities they might have.

10. Hire a Replacement or Promote Within

If the employee leaving is a senior-level manager or executive, it is essential to hire a replacement to let the organization maximize its talent pool and not stagnate in productivity. Promoting from within can also work.

If the departing employee was in an entry-level position, you’ll need to hire a replacement. 

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Remember that resignation does not necessarily mean you’ll get an equally good or better replacement. Many companies try to find the next great employee, but no one will ever be a perfect replacement for someone once they are gone.

If the employee was an efficient worker, you may want to examine how they could do their job at such high standards. For example, if they tracked and recorded their time, you may also want to consider an online solution that helps you do this.

If they had a method for keeping all of their files organized, you might also want to look into getting an optimized online solution for this as well.

Finally, if the employee got along with everyone else in the office, make an effort to improve communication and relationships among your employees moving forward. Losing a good employee is not desirable, so improving relationships in the office can help you be more successful and increase productivity.


Employee resignations are common and dealing with them is a routine for HR departments. Whether employees quit because they have better options or because of their personal lives, employers need to be ready for change.

Employers may be at fault if they experience high turnover and attrition rates. In this case, they need to change the company culture to retain key employees.

Some of the things employers need to ensure are that they follow employment laws, remain on good terms with departing employees, ask them for feedback, show transparency, discuss the reasons for the departure, and work on a quick succession plan.