How to Handle a Resignation in your Team
When someone in your team hands in their resignation it can be a complete surprise, but equally sometimes, an expected move. Either way, losing a team member can be disruptive and on occasion, it can feel personal.
Whatever the situation, as the manager of the team, how you handle the next moves can determine the fate of your remaining team’s future.
Out Top Tips for (gracefully) accepting a resignation in your team:
Thank them for their time they have given you to date and their contribution
Reaffirm their contribution and their achievements to the team and organisation
Ask what their next steps are. What contributed to their decision to leave?
Acknowledge their reasons for leaving and affirm that you understand their reasons for going.
It is OK to mention that you will be sad to see them leave.
Ask them to keep their resignation to themselves for the moment. You need to process the resignation and make a transition plan before you let the rest of the team know.
Take some time to process and plan. You need to give yourself a bit of time now to make an action plan for the transition and handover. You also need to start thinking about how you will cover and/or recruit this new vacant position in your team.
After you’ve come to terms with the resignation, you need to make an action plan. You will need to look at the notice period and have a transition plan while this person remains in your team. You also need to plan how to cover the gap once this person leaves and for sourcing a replacement.
Our Top Tips for an action plan after a resignation in your team:
Take a hit and ask the tough questions
Often, when a person resigns, leadership has played a role in that decision. Asking for feedback is never easy. However, there is a lot of value in asking the tough questions as part of an exit plan after a resignation. Ask for some honest feedback. Make time to have a one-on-one before they leave to give them an opportunity to provide you with this feedback.
Have a transition plan
The 4 weeks of someone working out their notice can be tricky to navigate. Make sure you have a list of all current projects and outstanding tasks. Put a timeline on anything that is outstanding so that you know everything can be wrapped up. Ask for a comprehensive list of all their responsibilities and day to day activities. Make sure if they know anything that no one else in the team knows, they document it and hand over that IP.
Relook at the team and current roles
Now that you have a gap in your team, you need to relook at the team as a whole. Review the team structure and the positions within the team. You need to identify if you need to replace the person who has resigned. Does the position description need updating? Make a list of what skills (both soft and hard) the ideal candidate will bring to this role.
Start the recruitment process
Recruiting the right candidate to fit into an established team can take time. You need to get onto this quickly to minimise the disruption to the rest of your team. The more time you have, the more time you can allocate to finding the right candidate. You need to remember that the candidate you choose, might also have a four week notice period to work out. Which means you are likely going to have a gap when there is no one in that role. You should also consider whether you will need a temp in to fill the gap while you look for the right candidate. A temp can be a great way to get a handover from one person to the next, as well as ensure that you have the resources available to help the team with the workload in the interim.
Finish on good terms
Sydney is a small town. Everyone knows someone who knows someone. Make sure you say your goodbyes on good terms. Keep things positive with farewell drinks, a card, a gift or some form of acknowledgement. A disgruntled past employee can be damaging for your organisation’s brand and your leadership reputation.