When staff move on

16th March, 2022

Written by Ainsley Palairet

Fix HR
Every week there are references in business media to ‘The Great Resignation’. (Even we wrote an article about this unprecedented phenomenon! You can read about it at 
In this context of churn and shortage, it’s natural to focus on recruiting, onboarding and retaining great employees. However, having a strategy for the off boarding or exiting employees is equally important.

Handling a departure well will;

1. Help minimise disruption;
2. Protect you from liability;
3. Improve the chances that an employee may return in the future; and
4. Influence how your team feel about your centre.

Without a proper exit process, you can destroy the overall employee experience. You may also find yourself inadvertently breaching employment or privacy laws.

Accepting resignations

Whilst we may aspire to farewell our staff with a smile, a handshake and a function at the local café or pub, the reality is often different. It can be tempting to accept a resignation made during an argument or a performance or disciplinary process. However, actioning a heat of the moment resignation could lead to a claim of constructive dismissal. Allow a cooling-off period, then check if your employee still wants to resign before confirming acceptance. It’s worth noting that if an employee resigns and later changes their mind you don’t have to agree.

Notice periods

As always, the starting (or ending!) point is the employment contract. Most agreements ask for notice in writing which is the best practice to avoid any misunderstandings. Check whether the correct notice period has been given – it is very easy to make mistakes at this point so take time to review your original contract and get this right. It’s possible to agree together that the notice period is different or not worked at all. Redundancies or terminations often have different terms or require a specific process to be compliant. It follows that every situation will be different. Decisions will depend on how engaged your staff member still is with your centre, whether their role is critical, and any handover that may be required. Remember that what you agree will also affect termination pay.

The fine print

Confirming acceptance of a resignation in writing provides the opportunity to cover off the details of how the relationship will end. You might include:

  • Details of the last day and what notice period (if any) will be worked.
  • The return of any centre property
  • Arrangements for final last pay – make sure you consider any contractual arrangements for example bonuses that may be due or outstanding commissions.
  • Confirmation on whether any restraints would be enforced (We have restraint of trade information for you at https://www.fixhr.co.nz/restraints-of-trade- agreements-are-made-to-be-kept/)
  • A reminder of any offboarding admin such as advising children and families, an out of office email wording or advising passwords and when access to accounts will be deleted.
  • Whether any deductions from pay are proposed, for example any agreed training costs or benefits taken in advance.

Letting your team know

Workplace change is unsettling and someone leaving can be distressing, especially if the relationship has been positive. Think about how you let everyone know and give the departing employee the chance to contribute to how that happens. And make sure you address any concerns there may be about managing workloads, especially if other staff may have to pick up duties for a while.

Your offboarding process sends a message to the rest of your team about whether they will be respected and valued for the time they spend with you. Ignoring a departure or treating a staff member poorly because they have decided to leave may have a knock-on effect. Investing in a cake and card can reap rewards. Employees’ opinions have an impact on a company’s reputation and brand; according to a 2016 Glassdoor survey, 70% of job candidates look to company reviews before they make career decisions.
(See article https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/how-candidates-use-glassdoor/

Exit Interviews

An employee who is leaving may be more honest about how they really feel about your centre and centre practices than when they are working for you. This is the perfect chance to get feedback about any concerns that might provoke other departures. This is also the chance to communicate your appreciation for the work they have done which can motivate them to remain engaged and productive during the notice period. It also leaves the door open for a return, assuming you might want them back!

Off boarding employees is an inevitable stage of the employee cycle. Get in touch with FIX HR if you would like practical advice and support.

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Ainseley Palairet 

Contact Ainsley
Lead Fixer 022 3933 557
Human resources (HR) is crucial to your business success and we believe excellent HR services should be accessible to all businesses. That’s why we created FixHR.
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