What to do when an employee quits

Brought to you by HRNow! The Right Advice at the Right Time to help you make the Right Decision

Employee resignations can be a difficult and stressful experience for employers. Whether the departure is expected or unexpected, it helps to act quickly to ensure your business continues functioning effectively without disruption. These steps could be valuable when faced with employee departures. 
Stay composed:   
Emotions can run high when employees quit, especially if they leave without notice or during a critical time. It is essential to remain calm and professional. Avoid venting frustrations to others and instead reflect on the situation objectively before making any decisions. 

Express gratitude:   
Regardless of how you feel about an employee's departure, express gratitude for their contributions. Showing appreciation for their work can help maintain positive relationships, preventing negative talk about your business in the future.  

Fulfill legal obligations:   
As an employer, you have legal obligations when an employee resigns. Please familiarize yourself with provincial timelines – CFIB Business Advisors can answer any questions you have. 

NOTE: it is not necessary to pay notice or severance when an employee quits

Conduct an Exit Interview: 
Exit interviews allow a business owner or HR department to learn why the employee chose to leave. The feedback can help identify areas that need improvement so necessary changes can be made to prevent future employee dissatisfaction. Here are some questions to ask; however, the employee is not obligated to answer:

  • What did they like?
  • What could have been done better?
  • What needs to stop?
  • Why did you decide to leave the company?
  • Is there anything we could have done to stop you from leaving?

Plan for a smooth transition:
When an employee leaves, the transition can be hectic, and essential tasks may fail to get done, or pressure can be put on existing employees. 

To prevent this:

  • Take time devising a plan to handle their responsibilities.
  • Consider reallocating tasks, assigning new projects, or hiring a replacement.
  • Remember to collect all company-owned items (keys, devices, access credentials) from the employee.
  • Remove the employee’s access to computer systems/networks.

Focus on retention:   
It can be vital to retain good employees to keep your business running smoothly and reduce employee turnover; focusing on retention can help. Sometimes, employees quit because they feel they were not trained well enough, undercompensated, or unappreciated. Some steps you can take include offering employee training and development, creating a positive work environment, and implementing employee recognition programs that empower the employee. 
Have questions? CFIB members can contact our Business Advisors at 1-833-568-2342 or by e-mail at cfib@cfib.ca.

Not a member? Join today to access our Advisors and resources!