What Global Mobility Managers Should Never Do When an Employee Quits

Has the Great Resignation – or Great Reshuffle – ended? With around 4.5 million American workers quitting last March, it’s safe to say that this business phenomenon is still roaring to this day. 

The labor market’s knowledge of the recent rise of job vacancies must have contributed to the sudden surge of resignations these past months. Job openings have hit a record high by the end of March. There was an estimate of 11.5 million vacancies according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS  by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So what happens when an employee resigns? Should global mobility professionals and HR personnel anticipate resignations within their company? The answer is Yes!

The anticipation will help employers understand the need to develop evolving strategies to maintain a filled workforce. Otherwise, they risk wasting a ton of time in searching for suitable replacements, onboarding, training, and more.

So how should people organizers react when an employee suddenly expresses his or her intentions to leave the organization.

Things not to do when an employee quits

Zippia elaborates on what people managers should never do when they receive a notice from an employee:

Take it personally. We shouldn’t directly assume an employee is leaving because of an assigned team leader’s management abilities. There are a whole lot of factors that come to play. They could have found an opportunity elsewhere with better pay or a sudden family member has fallen sick and they just need to relocate nearer to their loved ones. The multitude of reasons should dictate to people managers that there’s no reason to become defensive toward departing employees and assume that their reason for leaving is their leader.

Berate their decision. The stresses of managing a team can become a pretty underappreciated job. There are cases where managers lash out at employees the moment they mention any hints of leaving the company. It’s important to respect their decisions. If you’re hot-tempered and prone to making outbursts, you need to keep an open mind and calm yourself. A reactive response will affect team morale and will negatively impact his or her manner of leading a team.

Express relief publicly. One of the worst things managers can do is express how relieved they are that an employee is leaving to colleagues. It is downright offensive and unprofessional. It gives coworkers the idea that a manager is capable of harboring hatred in the workplace. If they are really that delighted that an employee is leaving and are unable to hold their emotions, it’s best to wait and express this glee outside work. This will help avoid any unnecessary negative outlook on the manager.

Play politics. Managers shouldn’t control the situation by disallowing an employee to share their desire to depart from the organization with coworkers. There’s a high probability that the employee has already shared this information even before it reached the manager. This will not look good on the manager in the end.

Nothing. The last thing any manager should do is appear disinterested in an employee’s desire to leave. The decision itself to open up about the possibility of leaving the organization to a manager is nerve-wracking. It’s important to walk him or her through the process in case the employee pushes through with his or her decision to leave. A little encouragement won’t hurt as well.

Now having discussed the DONTs, let’s proceed to understand the DOs. Luckily, Harvard Business Review has highlighted 6 key elements to ensure managers respond to any news of their employees leaving constructively and professionally.

6 ways for managers to deal with outgoing employees

React calmly. The tendency for managers to react negatively to news about an employee wanting to leave is perhaps stemmed from the thought of the tiring process of looking for a new hire while delegating the unfulfilled tasks across the team for a certain period. Nevertheless, calmly responding to such news manifests a manager’s ability to deal with people and situations that are less than ideal. If a business executive takes notice, these are good qualities to show.

Observe and manage any in-the-moment reactions. Sometimes, news of employees wanting to leave is abrupt and without warning. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and make sudden reactions. It’s important to take a breath and discern one’s emotions. Acknowledging feelings is the first step in dealing with them. Managers have to tackle these negative emotions, else they subtly manifest through their reactions without even noticing them. 

Depersonalize the news. Coherent to Zapier’s DON’Ts, it’s highly plausible that managers take the news personally. The news of an employee makes them question their ability to lead and manage people. Even if a manager was the reason for an employee to leave, he or she needs to take the news constructively. Remember, there are other aspects of being a leader that need to be developed. News of one employee leaving because of management does not totally define the manager. And again, chances are there are other reasons for an employee’s desire to leave besides management.

Be genuinely curious and demonstrate a growth mindset. A good leader embodies an individual who looks after their team members’ growth. Showing interest and curiosity as to why an employee is leaving will help dig in opportunities for improvement for both the manager and the organization itself. Managers can even ask the departing employees themselves if there was something the organization could do to make them stay. This is information waiting to be dug deep so the organization can make appropriate responses when resignations begin to rise.

Show support. The relationships you have in the workplace are part of your network. The moment you begin to show support toward departing employees can leave a lasting and impactful impression. Who knows? Even managers themselves might get caught in the Great Reshuffle and end up working with their former team members yet again. It’s important to keep in mind that our network is our net worth.

Ask the employee what you require. Resignation entails a lot of business processes. Managers need to identify what the employee needs from the organization and what the organization needs from the employee as well. This will allow the departure to be smooth sailing. If possible, the manager can maximize the time an employee has left by transitioning his or her task to a coworker.

Resignations are never easy both from the employee’s and employer’s perspectives. But it doesn’t have to negatively impact the organization tremendously. With the six key elements, organizations are equipped with the mindset of improving the way we respond to resignations. After all, resignations are a natural phenomenon in the business realm.