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Processes, scripts and scenarios to handle typical issues in the workplace.

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Xavier has worked for you now for 12 months. During that time he has attended many training sessions and courses at the company’s expense and proved himself to be a very willing and able employee. You think that Xavier has a long future in front of him within the business and have personally spent time helping him develop into a responsible young adult both inside and outside work.

Xavier comes to work and asks to see you. He tells you he is leaving. As his manager, you are bitterly disappointed.


Whilst you might personally be very annoyed and frustrated that Xavier is leaving, your role as a manager is to show support and care to all employees and seek to understand before you respond. This is likely not to be an easy decision for Xavier either, so seek to understand and show empathy.

  • Whilst you are meeting with your employee it’s critical to keep your emotions in check.
  • Make sure that if you feel shocked or disappointed then its ok to accept the resignation and explain that you have been caught by surprise and set a time to meet as soon as possible later in the day.
  • It is reasonable to request that the matter is kept confidential until you have spoken again.


Allow Xavier to explain why he is looking to leave. There might be factors contributing to the decision that you may not be aware of.  Allowing Xavier to explain his reasons also gives you the chance to greater understand his perspective and respond accordingly.

  • Listen to what your employee has to say.
  • Compose your emotions and ensure that by the time you meet again you are measured.
  • When disappointed it’s ok to say as such, however, you should not guilt the employee and make them feel bad for resigning.


Determine if the reasons for his resignation are things that you can control or not. If Xavier is leaving due to lack of progression then it is time to share your thoughts about his future at the business with him.  If Xavier is leaving for reasons that are beyond your control then there is nothing you can do other than ensure the exit is done in a manner that protects the business brand and Xavier relays the departure to others in a positive light.

  • You may ask where the employee is going and reason for leaving however understand that they are not obliged to tell you anything.
  • Agree on an exit strategy.
  • Discuss the legally required notice period, confirm the workload, and set expectations in terms of working.


Explain to Xavier about his notice period and what is expected of him in the last few days working. Do not assume that he knows how this works as he is new to the job market and may think he leaves today. You can by mutual agreement finish up ASAP if it is in the best interests of all parties and all parties agree. It is important that this is documented.  If the employee has not provided a written resignation either in an email or letter, ask that they do so for completeness.

  • You can ask the employee to work a longer notice period if it’s a busy time however the employee can decline if they wish.
  • Ensure that the employee knows that whilst they are working their notice out they are required to maintain the same high standards that they always have.
  • If you feel that the employee is no longer required, you can ask them if they agree to a short notice period. It must be by mutual agreement so if the employee declines there is nothing that can be done.
  • If the employee asks to leave earlier than the required notice period you can reject the request, however, weigh up how productive that employee will be if they have clearly stated that they wish to leave.


Meet with HR or another manager and discuss Xavier’s reasons for leaving. Ensure that you are looking at the situation in a non-emotive manner so that you can identify and embrace opportunities to improve how the workplace operates.

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