Managing Exit: Withdrawing a verbal resignation

“I own a midsize company and today I had a senior staff member resign to me as soon as he came in. I accepted his resignation and asked him to hold tight as I gathered my thoughts on next steps. 2 hours later he said he was withdrawing his resignation.

Can I accept his verbal resignation? I don’t want to keep him around any more as he explained to me that it was time for him to move on and that he felt it was time for a change. 

I think something happened to his other opportunity and is trying to backtrack. I’m certain he will keep looking for another job anyway.”

What would you do if you were caught up in a similar situation? It’s easy to decide an yes or no , but let’s look into the process , before you decide.

A resignation requires the submission in writing. It needs to be clearly stated why the resignation have been tendered. The employer needs to then start processing the conversation. First of all, as soon as you receive a resignation, please issue a letter sharing the resignation have been received and it is under due consideration.

Then arrange for a detailed discussion with the resignee and your HR Team. You may or may not include the reporting manager depending on the request of the resignee. Often the employee submitting such a request has some grievances which needs to be heard in isolation. Incase the employee is fine, organise a meeting with the Reporting Manager and the HR Business Partner.

Understand in details, why the employee is resigning and how would the knowledge transfer happen. Make sure the duration for release, transfer or responsibilities and sharing of every information is agreed and signed off.

In case an employee doesn’t want to serve the Notice Period, please share the process. If as an employer you allow them to buy-out , please explain the calculation and the final number that the employee needs to pay.

Once the resignation process has moved to the acceptance stage by the employer, share if you have any implication on resignation withdrawal. Clearly state beyond which point can the resignation still be re-considered. Draw a timeline, such as if the Notice Period is 3 months long, define the period for re-consideration will lats till end of the first month.

Plan your talent accusation during the Notice Period. In case you can’t hire or the employee do not want to serve the notice period allocate the responsibility to a team member and initiate the Knowledge Transfer.

The Exit process on the final day needs to have every area signed off including handover or responsibilities, duties and any Office property assigned to the employee. Seal the process with Release Certificate.

Once you have a rock solid process in place, your employees would know there are little chances of diversions. This kind of an elaborate timeline would allow you to re-think your own decision on releasing the employee. You will be able to weigh every cost of a new hire to training your existing employee. Restructure is easy, when you are sure of the result you want to achieve.

Hence, every room for verbal back tracking will be avoided! Decide for yourself, if you want to release an employee who wanted to resign, or hold on to someone who has realised you are far better than his options? At the end of the day every employee would leave your firm, someday or the other. Its up to you to optimise the talent and the time you have with them!

Recommended: Why should your pay remain secret , Future of work , Open Door