In the Philippines, it’s standard for employees to hand in their one month notice before they leave a company for good, but that isn’t always the case. Working in HR, you will have your fair share of resignations, and some of them will likely not follow protocol. Whether the employee in question resigns with just cause or not, you need to be able to handle an unplanned or unexpected departure.

Follow Company Procedures

Employers usually have procedures to follow in the event of sudden resignation to minimize business disruption. The usual checklist consists of conducting an exit interview, sorting out the last paycheck, updating payroll, releasing documents, addressing health insurance and other benefits, etc. But do include as well measures to secure any confidential information by cutting off access to internal channels. Collect devices and security cards/fobs, change usernames and passwords the employee may have been privy to, and remove remote access to important files after archiving them.

Investigate the Cause of Departure

Whether the employee parted with the company in amicable terms or not, HR needs to dig a little deeper into the why. According to an article from the Society for Human Resource Management, investigating the personal or professional reason for a dramatic resignation and documenting the circumstances are important in order to protect the company from any legal fallout. Ask hard hitting questions like “Was the employee provoked? Was the provocation a product of illegal conduct such as harassment or discrimination?” Depending on what the investigation reveals, you may then take the appropriate actions.

Communicate with Staff

The worst thing you can do upon an employee’s resignation, particularly if the relationship met a sour end, is leave the circumstances shrouded in mystery. Rumours tend to form especially when something as big as a resignation happens. It’s best to notify co-workers and teammates as soon as possible, preferably within the employee’s last month. Something as simple as a memo would work, but make sure that the company and the employee are in agreement as to what information is to be shared. Also, take this opportunity as well to address who will take over the employee’s responsibilities in the meantime.

Cross Train Employees

Remaining team members should also be able to pick up the slack to ensure that the business continues as usual. Everyone should be familiar with the workflow and any pending projects that the resigning employee will leave behind. For this reason, having a transition plan is ideal. Cross train your employees so that the team can divide the workload among themselves until another employee can step in to formally take over.

Reevaluate Need for Replacement

Of course it makes sense to fill the emptied position as soon as possible, but according to Forbes, it’s best not to rush into it. Going through your transition plan, you should already have a good idea of the employee’s workload compared to the team’s current priorities, workload and tasks. Using this information you can then determine if you need to hire a replacement, restructure the team or perhaps laterally transfer someone from another department who can do the same work. No matter what route you take, it’s recommended to get started on the hiring or onboarding process sooner rather than later.

A sudden change in the workspace is never easy, but following these principles can ease everyone into it.


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