Show kindness to departing employees!

When you are running a business, people resign for all sorts of reasons.  Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about it.

Resignations are most certainly unpredictable and at times it might even be a relief.  Of course it takes a lot of time and effort to fire someone.

There may also be those disappointing moments, when an employee you’ve taken the time to mentor decides it’s time to move on to the next step in their career.

No matter what the situation there are some important things you should never do when an employee gives you their notice.

  1. Think it’s personal: Don’t think someone is leaving because of your managerial skills.  It could be something completely different.  Don’t act defensive in an already difficult conversation, you’ll find out your answers in the exit interview.
  2. Bicker or criticize: Whether you are relived or dismayed that your employee is giving notice just take a deep breath and try to have a positive response prepared, especially if you are prone to outbursts.
  3. Show relief openly: Never tell other employees about your relief or even joy that a member is departing, even if your relationship is a good one outside of the office.
  4. No politics: Chances are the employee has already told their friends, so don’t ask them not to say anything until you have things figured out.
  5. Nothing: You should never just say “okay” and go back to your work when an employee gives their resignation.  Take this time to talk to them about the next steps and see if they have any questions.

After covering all the don’ts of an employee giving notice, here are some of the do’s you should keep in mind.

  1. Acknowledge it
  2. Respectfully ask where they are going
  3. Wish them well on their new opportunity
  4. Kindly express your regret that they will be leaving
  5. Talk about the next steps…exit interview last day policies, etc.

When you react appropriately to an employee who gives you notice it will ease his or her transition experience.  If the employee has a good experience with you on the way out, your other employees will know about it.

This will build your reputation as a boss, and you will have to have this conversation fewer times in the future!

How do you handle departing employees?



Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC and author of The 3×5 Coach: A Practical Guide to Coaching Your Team for Greater Results and Happier People“, which is now available in Paperback or a Kindle version at




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