What Not To Do When Someone Resigns

Posted by Emily Lennox on Dec 7, 2017 8:53:39 AM

In HR, business

Realistically, when you run a business it is inevitable that at some point people will want to leave, and there’s not much you can do about it. Many resignations are unexpected, so this blog post will give you some tips on what not to do when someone resigns, in order to buffer the effects of a sudden loss of staff.


As I’ve said, there isn’t a lot you can do when someone decides to leave. If your first reaction is to argue with them, especially when you know how nerve-wracking it can be to give notice, then you will definitely put them off of working with you. If it is likely that you will get angry, ensure that you have a positive response prepared, and coach yourself in calming techniques.


Take it personally:

Maybe it is personal, but more than likely it isn’t. Becoming defensive immediately isn’t a great way to handle the already difficult situation. Instead, try to understand their situation and figure out why they want to leave.



One of the worst things you can do is absolutely nothing. Your employee will need to know what the next steps are, and you will too. Are you likely to counter-offer? Will they need to work their notice period or leave immediately? Take the time to create an exit-plan, and be honest about the things you aren’t sure of yourself.

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Basically, when an employee decides that the time has come for them to fly the nest, make sure that you:

  • Acknowledge it
  • Ask where they are going
  • Congratulate them
  • Express regret that you are losing them
  • Create an exit-plan and share it with them


Hopefully these tips have given you an idea of what not do to when someone resigns. If this process goes smoothly and your former employee has a good experience on your way out, your company and employees will benefit! For more tips and tricks on HR, recruitment and business, check out the rest of our blog:

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