I Quit!….. So, one of your staff resigns…



In our work we have the opportunity to look into the workings of organisations and be part of clients’ processes. So we get to see the good and the not-so-good and be impacted by them both. What we thought we would do is to share some of the common mistakes we see, suggest a way around it and do this weekly in the hope that we all might improve our performance or stimulate discussion.

So, one of your staff resigns. After uttering a silent “b*****r”, what do you do?

Firstly, ask yourself, do you want to keep them? Are they really contributing at the level you want? Would losing them be a tragedy, inconvenient or an opportunity?
Often the excuse is they are leaving for more money. The reality is that people leave for a number of reasons with money often being one of the least important. Giving them more money, therefore, won’t solve the underlying issues. It might give you 6-9 months but ultimately money won’t hold someone.

If losing them would be a tragedy. What could work is taking the time to listen, understanding the factors that led to their decision. In an appropriate and genuine way respond to these, for example admitting you have dropped the ball or offering new and attractive alternatives to their career aspirations can be helpful.
It may be too late to change by the time someone has resigned, but it is worth noting that key people are often not given advancement because the company “needs them in their current position”. This is a short sighted approach to managing staff when these same skills make them attractive to other employers who will provide the growth they seek.

If losing them would be inconvenient. Sometimes it is just a nuisance. The individual is a contributor, well liked and you feel disappointed about them going. If you are honest some of the disappointment may be that you feel a personal rejection. The person is leaving you when after all you were the one to “give them the break”. Remember at those times that your role as a manager is to mentor people and encourage them to grow. If they can’t do that in your company they have to leave. Celebrate the fact that they leave your team better equipped to achieve their life goals!

If losing them is an opportunity. Slow down. Rather than rush to replace them. “Get me another person like X”, think about what the company needs.
Next week we will discuss how to go about that process