Resigning Employee: Should You Let Them Go? Or Try to Convince Them to Stay?

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Resigning Employee

When one of your best employees puts in their two weeks’ notice, it can feel like a crisis.  Your instinct may be to jump immediately to the arguments in favor of the employee staying.  But should you?

Sometimes, an employee’s exit is the best thing for everyone involved – and sometimes, it’s an unnecessary loss.  To decide whether or not to persuade the employee to stay, start here:

  • Why is the employee leaving? Why did the employee start looking for a new job in the first place?  Has the employee brought up the problem in the past?  If so, what was done – and if nothing was done, why?
  • What would the employee change about this job if they could? An employee’s answer to this question may point to a concrete problem that can be fixed, or it may indicate a larger, more systemic issue.

The answers to these questions should guide your course of action.  Obviously, if the employee’s answers indicate the decision to leave is based on personal factors, or on a systemic problem in the team or company that is much larger than the employee in question, asking the employee to stay won’t resolve the issue.  If the employee points to a specific issue that can be addressed, however, consider the following steps:

  • Offer a resolution. But don’t frame it in general terms: “We’ll fix that, don’t worry.”  A general promise sounds like an empty promise.  Instead, frame the offer as a specific opportunity: “Let’s talk about what needs to change in order to fix this.
  • Work with the employee to create a plan. If the employee is willing to discuss change, work with them to create a measurable and workable plan with clear timelines and goals.  For example, if the employee cites feeling “stuck” in their current job, and you can move the employee to a new position they’ll accept, create a timeline for “wrapping up” the current position and onboarding the employee into the new one.
  • Take notes. Whether or not the employee agrees to work on a plan to stay, take note of the problems and issues they bring up.  Share these notes (with the employee’s personal information removed) with your recruiter to improve your pool of potential replacement candidates.

At Burnett’s Staffing, our staffing partners can help you conduct better exit interviews, pinpoint potential issues and choose candidates who offer a better personality and cultural fit with your current team.  Contact us today to learn more about our recruitment services in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, and Irving/Las Colinas!

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