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When someone's resignation comes as a relief...

So, at last, that much longed-for resignation is in. But what do you do next as an employer?

Most managers will have experienced quiet exhilaration after receiving the resignation email from a challenging/unpopular/poor-performing employee at some point or other. However, that relief can sometimes distract us a bit from necessary next steps. Here’s a quick reminder of what you should think about in this situation.

1. Are they sure???

Sometimes people have second thoughts after resigning and will ask to rescind their notice. Whilst there’s generally no legal requirement on an employer to agree to this, it's advisable to do so in occasional circumstances where the resignation has obviously been made in emotional ‘spur of the moment’ fashion and the request to un-resign follows quickly afterwards.

2. When is their leaving date?

Your contracts of employment will require a specific period of notice when resigning, but not all employees (especially those resigning in bad humour) will provide this. Check exactly what their resignation email says and go back to them to confirm if there is any doubt. An employee who provides insufficient notice will be in breach of contract, but in practice there’s little you can do about it. Just move on.

3. What’s the legal risk?

If the employee’s resignation is related to a disciplinary or other management process, or they have raised a recent grievance, then you should consider investigating or discussing their concerns before the leaving date. Taking good HR/ legal advice at this point could help to prevent or mitigate a potential tribunal claim.

4. Sort out the practicalities

Does the individual have company equipment to return? What kind of handover is needed? What’s their outstanding holiday balance? When will they get their final pay? These are all important questions to deal with.

5. Plan recruitment for your next hire

It’s worthwhile including some time in this planning to reflect on what if any learning has come about from your experiences with this employee, and how to integrate this in your next recruitment process. This could include thinking about the job description, application process, interview questions, reporting lines, training, probation process, etc. A good HR consultant can help you with these issues if needed.

6. Wish them well!

Not every employment relationship works out as well as we’d hoped, and this may be one of those times. But anger or tension at this point rarely does anyone favours. It’s time for both you and the employee to move on and look forward to the future.

If you’d like to talk through any of these, or other HR issues, then do get in touch via

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