In The Workplace

A side from handling disciplinary action, the second most difficult, if not stressful process is how we in management handle resignations of people who are joining other organizations. After all, we’ve invested a lot in hiring, coaching, training, and all the things necessary for us to make our workers perform their job to our satisfaction. But at times, we need to accept the inevitable. With that in mind, we’ve no recourse but to accept the resignations, particularly when we can’t even afford to match the offer of another employer. Is there a certain protocol we can observe for a stress-free process? — Red Rose.

A promising young executive quit his job to join another company. Before leaving, he stopped to say goodbye and offered a firm handshake to his boss. The boss said: “I’m sorry to see you go. You’ve been like a son to me — impatient, demanding, and a bit loud.”

In this age of the so-called War on Talent, hiring, motivating, and retaining people would always be a challenge for management. This brings us to the forefront of revising the salary structure to ensure its competitiveness if only to minimize the attrition rate that often results to a seemingly endless search for qualified workers as replacements.

All of this must be done while maintaining higher labor productivity and ensuring the high morale of people who will be constrained to take up the tasks, if and when management decides to stop hiring. The situation can be made worse if management fails to handle properly the resignation of people. With this in mind, there a number of strategies you can use to reduce the impact of the workers’ resignation. These are:

One, treat the resigning worker with dignity and respect. When people leave, maintain positive relationship with them. As soon as the resignation letter is handed to you as the manager, talk to the person and probe for the reason why they’re resigning. Even if they give you vague answers, respond without showing any emotion. Just the same, level with them about what you do and don’t know.

Two, sign to indicate acceptance of an employee’s resignation letter. Then pass the original copy of the letter with your signed marginal note “Approved” to the human resources department. This signals the start of processing the replacement and beginning the clearance process, among other things. Usually, the HR department will ask you to fill up certain forms necessary for hiring the replacement and perform other pertinent tasks.

Three, observe the “promotion from within” policy. With or without a formal system, it is advisable that you consider someone from the same department or from other departments to fill the vacancy. This hastens the transition brought about by the resignation and at the same time contributes to the morale of those who will be left behind. This makes it easy for you to have a “business as usual” atmosphere in your workplace.

Four, ask the resigned employee to complete his pending work. If not, seek his assistance in training his replacement and conduct the proper turnover of documents, supplies, and office equipment. Initiate small talk as a sort of exit interview and learn from it. Don’t prolong the agony of this exit interview as it’s best to conduct a separate “stay” interview.

Last, take the resignation as an opportunity for change. At times, you will be surprised to get new ideas from the replacement worker who is out to prove himself. It’s a situation where you can save money at the same time. If he’s qualified, give him few months to excel on the job while paying some form of a cash allowance until he proves himself worthy to the organization.

One, don’t immediately accept the resignation when first informed of it. This is a bit insulting. Even if you consider it a “good riddance” situation and you’re raring to accept the voluntary termination of his employment, don’t do it while he’s in front of you. Remember, management protocols require you to preserve his dignity and self-respect.

Two, don’t prevent people from leaving even if you’re losing a talent. It’s a bad approach. And what if your resigned employee insists on leaving? That means you’ll end up in a more sorry situation than before.

Three, don’t offer a bigger package to beat the new offer. It’s a bad precedent. What if the employee accepts your offer and other employees find out, are you willing to offer the same thing to them?

Four, don’t close the door on future collaboration. In other words, don’t burn the bridge even if it gives you the best light in the dark. If you have good relationships with resigned workers, chances are, they will reciprocate by giving your company business opportunities from the new employer.

Last, don’t delay the release of clearance and terminal pay. This includes the employee’s remaining base pay, cash allowance, encashment of leaves, and pro-rated benefits. Also, issue the certificate of employment as a matter of procedure. This is a statutory requirement that your organization cannot withhold, regardless of the circumstances.

No matter how good you think you are at managing people, there will always come a time when, for one reason or another, you’ll need to deal with resignations. Sometimes, the finger of blame will be pointed toward you as the line manager, even if you don’t want to accept it.

In any event, it’s always nice to be able to take a professional stance in all of this. There’s no other way. Besides, resigned workers have already made a decision and the only thing you can do is to be positive every step of the way, even if you don’t like certain people and their behavior. You should be glad they’ve taken that step of leaving your organization.

ELBONOMICS: Don’t burn the bridge even if it gives you the best light in the dark.


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