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What to Say When an Employee Resigns

By Lacey Conner, SHRM-CP on May 21, 2021
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what to say when an employee resigns

Even though employees resigning is an expected part of business culture, it can still feel awkward for companies to announce the departure to clients. Employers often wonder what to say when an employee resigns from an organization that provides clients with adequate information while still respecting the employee’s privacy.

The key to handling this situation well is to give clients plenty of advanced notice and create a professional script in advance. Once an employee gives notice, employers shouldprepare an employee leaving announcement for clients within two business days. Preparing an employee departure notice can be challenging when someone leaves the company abruptly, but employers can hone their skills from earlier resignations to meet any challenge.

Information to Include in an Employee Departure Notice

Employers should inform clients that an employee is leaving the company in writing. Putting the notice in writing makes it official and provides clients with a reference to refer to if they have questions later. Here is the appropriate information to include in written correspondence:

  • Employee’s last day with the company
  • Name of the person who will now serve as the client’s point of contact
  • Details about the transition of duties from the outgoing employee to the new contact person
  • Name and contact information for another person within the company the client can contact with additional questions

The employee departure notice should be short and to the point. It is not necessary to include personal details about why the employee is leaving. One exception to this is when the employee has received a promotion within the company. Sharing this information helps to frame the transition period more positively and showcases the employer as one that provides its employees with advancement opportunities.

Three Reasons Good Employees Leave Their Jobs

Choosing and Introducing the Client’s New Contact Person

The person chosen to take over the departing employee’s duties should already be familiar with the client company’s specific needs to ensure a smooth transition. Employers should have already selected a new contact person before preparing an employee by leaving the announcement email template.

The email should include the name, job title, telephone number, and email address for the new contact person. Sending an employee departure notice without this information leaves clients in a state of limbo and can cause them unnecessary stress. Lack of clarity about who will be handling their needs can also prompt a decision to stop working with the employer company.

Create a Transition Support Team Among Remaining Staff

Managers may need to split the departing employee’s accounts with staff remaining in the department. When it is not feasible to name a new contact person for major accounts right away, a manager or the department’s most experienced employee should serve as the point of contact.

To reassure high-value and smaller but loyal accounts, managers should select their highest-performing team member to help with the transition. Clients need to feel that their needs take priority despite any internal struggles the employer may face. Assigning a subject-matter expert on top of an experienced point of contact can also be reassuring for clients.

After assembling a transition team, managers will need to bring them up to speed on the particulars of each client. For example, employees new to working with a client should understand the history of the working relationship between the client and employer. They should also know how the client prefers to communicate and any upcoming project deadlines.

Department managers should put the client transition plan in writing and distribute to everyone involved. The notice should include a transition timeline and an explanation of any procedural changes that will occur.

All people assigned to work with a client previously serviced by the departing employee should remain positive and reaffirm the company’s responsiveness to the client’s needs. Employees should put in extra effort to communicate this message by following up their words with actions.

How to Minimize the Impact When an Employee Quits Without Notice

Arrange a Meeting with the Client to Introduce the New Point of Contact

Once the email informing clients of a new contact person has gone out, the department manager should reach out within a day or two to see if the client has any questions. This brief check-in is the ideal time to schedule a virtual or in-person meeting to discuss the transition in greater detail.

The client meeting should include the department manager, the new contact person, and any other relevant contacts from the transition team. The person leading the meeting should be sure to thank the client company for its business. Asking if the client has any new needs to discuss or recommendations for improvement helps set a positive tone as well. The focus of the rest of the meeting should be introducing the new point of contact and highlighting that person’s experience and accomplishments.

Axcet HR Solutions offers a complete range of human resources services to small and medium-sized businesses in the Kansas City area, including termination guidance, recruitment and retention. Employers in Kansas and Missouri may request a consultation or contact Axcet HR Solutions direct at 913-383-2999 to learn more.

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