The term “resignation process” is relatively new, but the process that it describes has existed for a very long time in some form or another.
Companies and organizations have recently started to be better at understanding the importance of a good resignation process. Companies and organizations are also better at seeing how it can affect their existing employee network, increase productivity, and support future recruitment efforts.
And that is fantastic news!
But just because we are all getting a bit smarter and knowledgeable regarding the resignation process, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any pitfalls along the way that can cause serious damage to your organization/company if you are not careful.
Luckily, we can help you. We have put together a list of five common mistakes that you should AVOID in the resignation process as well as some insightful recommendations for what you should do instead in order to inspire the employees that leave your company.
In order to help you avoid and circumvent the common pitfalls, we have put together a comprehensive list of practices that you should avoid during the employees’ resignation process as well as some practical recommendations for what you should do instead.
#1 Don’t take resignations personally
It can be hard not to take resignations personally. Especially if the resigning employee plays a central role in your company, or if that person is someone that you have mentored. But if you want to avoid mistake #1, it is important to rid the resignation process of all your personal feelings.
People resign all the time for a lot of different reasons. It might be that the employee has outgrown your company or just wants a fresh start. No matter the reason, the decision is completely up to the employee, and if you start to interfere in the resignation process and focus on your own side of things, it can easily leave a bad taste in the employee’s mouth.
Support your employee’s choice to leave your company and continue to treat him or her as a valuable team player until the resignation process is complete and the employee’s employment ends.
If you really want to keep the resigning employee at your company, you can try out a counteroffer, of course. If you choose to do this, then try to avoid that your resigning employee feels pressured into taking your offer. You should be considerate and open, because you will want the employee to stay for the right reasons – if they decide to do so – and bot because they feel obligated to.
#2 Announce staff cuts privately (one-to-one) and not collectively
This resignation mistake might seem apparent, but throughout the pandemic there have been one example after the other where organizations have made extensive staff cuts via Zoom or email.
We cannot stress it enough (regardless of how large your company gets), that it is a very bad idea to announce any kind of staff cut collectively. Firing employees overtly like this shows a huge lack of respect for your resigning employees, and it will definitely influence how your remaining employees feel about your organization, not to mention your future recruitment efforts. Not surprisingly, potential employees are not too keen on that kind of practice.
If you plan a large round of layoffs or a restructuring, it is common curtesy to call each and every one of your affected employees. It is of course time-consuming, and it is of course unpleasant, but that is the only way to ensure that your company can keep on acting with integrity.
In this way, you can also avoid that your company gets a bad nickname or is shamed either orally or online for not knowing how to handle people. We’re just saying.
#3 Don’t take retired employees for granted
Retirement is a big milestone. People have worked their entire lives in order to reach the day when they no longer have to work in order to live. So, you shouldn’t handle retirement as just another type of resignation.
As a retired former employee’s last (fulltime) place of work, you need to remember that the way you handle their exit from the company will leave a lasting impression with them and thereby shape how they remember you and their working life. Acknowledging the work and energy that an employee has put into your organization is important, and you shouldn’t just tell them goodbye and hand them a (symbolic) thank you card.
Give your retired employees the respect they deserve, and that includes a resignation process that lasts a bit longer, and it includes some type of party that involves their colleagues as well as a thoughtful gift that is unique to the employee.
As part of the resignation process, you should make sure to document their extensive work-related knowledge. The effect of this is double: your retirees are made aware that their knowledge is greatly appreciated and you also ensure that central competences don’t leave the company when the employee retires.
#4 Don’t let offboardee feedback gather dust
It is common practice for HR departments to hold exit interviews at some point during the resignation process to gather feedback from the employees regarding their time at the company. The problem with this is that this feedback is often archived as a part of the retiree’s journal, and this feedback will never see daylight again.
This is why this is resignation mistake number 4. The good thing is that this mistake can be avoided.
If you don’t utilize feedback from resigning employees, you will probably repeat previous mistakes and thereby miss out on the opportunity to improve your long-term employee retention. You will also miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of the things that already work by not passing along positive feedback to managers.
Invest in a digital system that can gather feedback and analyze tendencies. The thing is that most HR employees are also plenty busy without manually tracking feedback from resigning employees. The right digital system can handle a lot of the heavy administrative work, and this means that the HR department can focus on using feedback constructively instead of just gathering it.
Our offboarding solution encompasses a digital system that gathers both short- and long-form feedback directly in the app, and this means that resigning employees can provide feedback in a fun and engaging way.
#5 Remember to also offboard employees that are hired on a contractual basis and short-term employees
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that employees who are hired on a contractual basis do not require offboarding.
Short-term employees and employees who are hired on a contractual basis give you an amazing opportunity to gather impartial feedback from people who have experienced your company by working there. They will probably be more open and honest, as they do not have a big emotional relation to your company and don’t have much to lose.
A good resignation process for short-term employees also gives you a great opportunity to grow a long-term relation with these people, which increases the chances that they will want to work at your company again. This is a good way to cut down on recruitment costs for short-term employees and minimize production deficits.
Put together a shortened version of your standard resignation process, which is designed to offboard your short-term employee in the best way.
Focus on activities that gather feedback regarding their time in your organization and which should document the work that they have performed in their short-term position.
What can we learn from it?
Remember that a good strategy for your company’s resignation process affects your existing staff as well as your future recruitment opportunities. It is just as important as when you onboard a new employee, and it deserves to get your full attention if you want to handle the resignation process properly.
If you follow our advice and avoid these five resignation mistakes, you might be able to turn an experience that is usually negative into something that makes sense for everyone involved.
Our solution for resignation processes facilitates a seamless offboarding experience for HR, managers, and resigning employees.