What To Do When A New Employee Resigns

Aug 08, 2019

“I wanted to let you know that I would like to quit.”

Heartbreaking though these words are, they form an inevitable aspect that every workplace has to deal with.

When a new employee who has just started the onboarding process, asks to speak to you in private, as a manager, you know there is a high chance that the conversation is going to take a serious turn.

And when they spill the news of their resignation, it is as though all your fears have come true.

A bolt out of the blue that this news might be, the onus is on you to salvage whatever you can from the situation.

It’s important to remain in charge of the conversation rather than let it degrade into an embarrassing disaster.

While interacting with a new employee who has just informed you about their decision to quit, you must –

Always Be Gracious

Overcome though you might be with feelings of having been betrayed, rejected, or slapped in the face, outwardly be as gracious as possible. The objective here is to come across as a person with a positive attitude, and not as someone who is bursting at the seams with anger or frustration.

Always bear in mind that your attitude is one factor that can make or break this conversation. Therefore, by going into it with a positive attitude, not only can you find out the reason that triggered this decision but also judge whether you can convince them otherwise.

Gather Information

The most information that you can gather at this point is finding the reasons for quitting. Some of the most common reasons that cause new hires to resign are –

●       Having a  better offer in the wings, in terms of remuneration or amenities or both;

●       Probability of relocating to another city;

●       Flexibility in working hours;

●       Problem fitting into the workplace in terms of ethics/behavior;

●       Dissatisfaction with the portfolio/position accorded;

As the employer, always phrase your questions in a manner that they are open-ended but at the same time enable you to elicit relevant information. Under no circumstances should you assume an intrusive or an offensive tone that could cause the new hire to clamp down or take a defensive stance.

Whether to Woo or Not

When you understand what the reason was for the resignation, assess the situation with your HR team.

Depending on the seniority and importance of the role, you can consider whether to make a counter offer or bypass and start recruitment taking onboard any feedback the new employee has.

Here are some of the most common scenarios and tips on how to manage them:

●       A bad experience during the onboarding process. If there are issues with their direct manager or team, ensure that you get constructive feedback as part of the exit interview. If there has been a misunderstanding or miscommunication during the onboarding process sometimes a face to face conversation with HR as a mediator can help clarify the situation.

●       In case of a problem at home, where offering flexible working hours or a work-from-home opportunity could solve the issue;

●       There might be a feeling of incompatibility with the role assigned or the people around which can be resolved by shifting the employee to a different department or changing the team;

Making a counter offer that is salary based is usually a last resort option. In situations where the salary they have been offered is going to surpass your headcount budget, it is better to bid adieu, offer your best wishes and express the hope of staying in touch in the future.

At this point, be prepared for any reply that you get and plan your next question accordingly. If you succeed in convincing the new hire to stay on, then congratulate yourself on your negotiating skills. However, if the new employee remains adamant about the resignation, your next step should be to put the offboarding process in motion.

Dos’ and Don’ts While Interacting

Final Thoughts

Empathy is the key while interacting with a new hire who wants to resign after a few days or couple of months at work. Despite the fact that the news might trigger a gamut of emotions within you and throw your plans off, if you do your best to salvage the situation you will get valuable feedback in the process regardless of whether your new hire stays or leaves.

In my next post, we’ll deep dive into how to use technology to make managing your onboarding process a faster experience.

Iolanda Hazell

Iolanda Hazell is Head of People & Culture at Pulse Software - 18+ yrs of HR experience supporting small-large companies in sectors such as financial, professional services, technology & government.