Is this the end?

What to do when an employee quits

"I quit!" What do you do when a staff member shouts these words and storms out of your office? Do you run after him, grab his ankles and beg him not to leave? Or is "You can’t quit, because you’re fired!" your immediate response?

As a manager, you’ll probably encounter this scenario at least once in your career. The Manager’s Intelligence Report, a Chicago-based publication, offers ways to handle the situation without burning any bridges behind you:

  • Allow a cooling-off period. Give a day of grace to let everyone calm down and rethink their positions. Don’t take any irreversible action, such as removing a time card or issuing a final paycheck, until at least 24 hours have passed.
  • Find out what happened. Ask a neutral third party, such as a manager from another department or someone from human resources, to call the employee at home and confirm the resignation.
  • Be open to requests to return. Sometimes people say or do things they don’t really mean. Don’t let your ego get in the way of a sincere "I’m sorry" and a genuine desire to return to work.
  • Learn the facts. Was the employee having a bad day? Are there other factors that might have caused an overly emotional reaction to a specific situation? Ask the employee for his or her side of the story.
  • Maintain discipline. If you do let the employee come back to work, be sure to state firmly that walking out is not an acceptable way to solve problems.

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