As an employer, there is an impulse to “save” a high performing employee who has decided to leave. It’s a survival response that comes with a feeling of abandonment and vulnerability.
There are two things to keep in mind to preserve the dignity of the employee:
1st – The employee left long before they told you, so resist the urge to hold them back.
Finding another job is hard. Resume updates, search through ads, reach out to colleagues, interviews, follow-up calls, negotiate, and finally accepting a job. The process is intentional and takes energy from the employee’s current job. At this point, it is too late to re-enroll them in staying.
2nd – Resist the urge to entice them with money. It is rarely their primary motive.
It is an easy solution – give the employee more money! Yet money is second to them not feeling valued. Should they take the money, it will only be a temporary fix. Because most employees will leave within 12 months putting you back in the same spot.
3rd – Bonus Point – Maintain an empathetic perspective.
Imagine you’re them. Drop the labels of employee and employer, and seek to end things on the high ground. This also preserves your dignity and allows for a feeling that both people walk away whole.
When an employee resigns, do your best to control your emotions and do what is necessary to preserve their dignity. Thank them for their service, discuss the transition plan, and offer your support. Then conduct a self-analysis to see the signs missed on your part to avoid missing them again.
By following these steps and approach, the person will walk away feeling good while keeping you and your company in high esteem.