How Do You Develop a Policy for An Employee Quitting?
Just like you have a policy for terminating employees, it pays to have one for quitting too. The more you plan for the unexpected the better you’ll handle employee departures. To set out clear expectations, the company policy on quitting should include:
Employee notice of resignation: Employees are expected to give two weeks’ notice if they’re quitting. Failure to do so could result in the employee not being able to work for the company again. “You can’t legislate it, but you can have an expectation clearly laid out,” said Wilson.
Put it in writing: To protect everyone, the notice should be in writing either via a company form or a notice letter. It should include the reason the employee is leaving and the effective date of departure. If an employee chooses to quit verbally, confirmation of that notice should be sent to the employee shortly thereafter.
Rehire rules: Employees leave for a variety of reasons. Better opportunities, family matters and layoffs are high on the list. Sometimes those employees look to come back. With that in mind, you should include in your policy guidelines on rehiring former staff. Most companies will rehire employees who were let go because of a reduction in the workforce or who voluntarily resigned. Those who were let go because of performance or insubordination usually aren’t hired back. You may choose not to rehire employees who didn’t provide advance notice when they left.
Cross-training: Small business owners are at a disadvantage. They don’t have the budget or the staff to train several people for a singular task.
“Too many times we’ve seen our clients have one person who knows how to do one role or function,” said Wilson. “It would choke the company if the employee were to leave. It’s always better to have more than one person know how to do a function.”
Cross-training employees should be an ongoing process, not a one-off when an employee quits.
Keep the pipeline fill: Employee turnover happens, even at the best companies. It can either make or break your business depending on how prepared you are to deal with it. If you build a pipeline of potential candidates for your key roles, losing one employee won’t be as devastating.
“Succession planning is key,” said Glenn. “It’s always important to be sourcing inside and outside the organization. You may not need to recruit those people in the moment, but you’ll have a warm list of candidates to go to at any given time.”
Don’t forget the exit interview: It’s important to conduct a substantive exit interview. It’s your opportunity to gain insight into what’s the employee liked or hated about the business. It’s also an opportunity to collect any company-owned equipment and turn in keys or door entry cards.
“While you should do all you can to retain top talent some will eventually leave. Turnover is a natural part of the workforce life cycle,” said Byles. “The exit interviews give you the opportunity to discuss the reasons for leaving and identify how the organization needs to change to better attract, develop, and retain top talent.”
Key takeaway: To prevent problems, it pays to have policies on quitting that require employees to give a two-week notice. Employees should provide their resignation in a letter and undergo an exit interview. It’s important to focus on cross-training your staff and keeping the talent pipeline full to prevent any work slowdowns as the result of unexpected workforce changes.