What to do when an employee suddenly quits

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When an employee suddenly quits, your reaction in the eyes of the public must be professional, but immediate. This includes your reactions to not just your boss, but to your company’s employees, other members of your staff, and clients, if applicable. If this was unforeseen, you will have your own feelings about the matter. Shock could be normal, as could self-doubt. Rather quickly, you may feel betrayal and a big question in your mind as to how this extra work will be done, much less done with quality. Perhaps the employee was good enough to brief you upon his/her as to where the workload was at, but under the circumstances, it could be sketchy at best.

First things first

Firstly, you should explain to your boss and promise to keep your superior informed. Next, get the necessary paperwork and other matters going in Human Resources. Assemble your staff and give them the basic facts. Tell them there are rules and policies to follow when someone quits, but the suddenness of this particular situation requires that everyone pull together for the sake of the business and its customers. Emphasize that your door is open for any discussions or questions at any time. You can, at this point, ask any work-related questions, such as who was working with that individual, and on what projects. Ask them to forward any important emails to you. From that point, the most relevant employees will likely come to you and the workflow will begin again. Then, you should speak to your superior and deal with the matter of any customers that may be affected and inquire if upper-management should be involved. Assure your boss you are on top of things.

Be prepared for surprises

A good boss can step in and do anything their employees would do. You may have to lend a hand so as to not overburden remaining staff, but be sure you remain their superior and they know what you expect. Unless you have the exiting employee’s direct statement that his/her leave taking was for personal reasons, you have to assume that there could be surprises. Hopefully, your employees know enough to carry on with minimal difficulty.

The future

You should then reflect upon what happened.  A good manager likely will have had an inkling that something was up, but regardless, unless the position is being absorbed, you will have to work on a replacement.  Human Resources can guide you in getting this started.  Do you open things up to the staff, or do you notify the staff before or after the job was posted? Above all, they will tell you how to follow protocol and employment law.  In addition, Human Resources should have been keeping you in the loop regarding the voluntary termination and will let you know if you are needed.

Finding a new candidate to fill the position

When an employee doesn’t give notice and quits suddenly, it can give you little to no time to find that person’s replacement. You have a couple options; you could promote within, which could be a good option if there is another employee who is looking to move up in their career and would be a great fit for the opportunity. However, promoting within isn’t always the best idea. While it may seem like the easier choice to stick with someone who is already working at the company, the easier choice isn’t necessarily the ideal choice.

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Whether you received a two-week notice or an employee suddenly quit out of the blue, it can put your department or company in a terrible situation. Finding the right person to replace that employee is important, and not a decision that you want to take lightly, especially if the role was an critical one.

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