In today’s competitive job market, employees are increasingly seeking out opportunities that align with their values and priorities. While the “Great Resignation” has subsided, many workers, especially Gen Z-ers are still looking for ways to improve their work-life balance, pursue their passions, and find more meaning in their works. Simultaneously, companies, especially those in the tech industry, are downsizing their workforce due to macroeconomic downturns, overhiring during the pandemic, and shifts in consumer behavior, among other reasons. These circumstances raise significant questions for employers: How should you handle employee departures, and how do you communicate these changes to the rest of your workforce when a valued colleague decides to leave?
Employee departures can manifest in various forms, whether through layoffs, retirements, relocations, transitions to rival companies, or complete career changes. However, the ways in which you as an employer deal with a resignation should remain as consistent as possible. With this in mind, in this guide, we’ll outline the best practices for informing your team of employee resignations, including a professional email template that you can use to announce a resignation.
3 Reasons to Announce an Employee Departure
Informing your team about unexpected changes to the workplace may feel uncomfortable. However, it’s better to take charge of the situation when the employee’s resignation date is confirmed instead of shying away from the news. You’ll find that there are multiple reasons to announce the departure in advance. We take a look at these below.
1. Announcements can lower the emotional toll on your team
Professional relationships organically form in the workplace, so there will likely be members of your team who care for their colleagues on a personal level. Providing advanced notice of the employee’s departure will give people time to emotionally prepare for the change, which may lessen the impact that the resignation has on the organization’s morale.
2. Staying transparent can reduce the spread of rumors
It’s a good idea to be transparent when employees resign to prevent the creation of false narratives. Team members might misinterpret the departure as something negative, resulting in unwanted rumors spreading throughout the company. Making an announcement to your staff will ensure the departing employee can leave in a dignified manner and help maintain a desirable workplace culture in the organization.
3. Addressing departures helps with handling the upcoming vacancy
The loss of an employee means there will be duties that need to be taken care of until the organization hires a new professional for the open role. Letting your team know about the departure in advance will allow for better coordination between employees and their superiors on how to handle these tasks. For example, your staff may have an opportunity to request extra hours or responsibilities in advance, if needed, or may themselves want to internally apply for the position.
How to Announce an Employee Resignation in 5 Steps
1. Use the right communication channel
Regarding employee departures, it’s important to handle them formally in the workplace rather than informally with just a few team members. Addressing such exits through official channels ensures transparency and respect. There are several effective ways to communicate these departures:
For organizations that routinely conduct group meetings, consider including the news of a team member’s departure on the meeting agenda. This provides a structured platform to inform the entire workforce about the resignation. Beforehand, discuss this approach with the departing employee to ensure they are comfortable discussing their resignation in a group setting.
Alternatively, companies that utilize instant messaging apps like Google Chat, Slack, or Microsoft Teams can use group chats to announce departures. This method saves time and alleviates the pressure on the resigning employee compared to face-to-face meetings. It also allows colleagues to share casual farewells and well wishes easily.
Another effective medium is email, which permits employees to read and react to the news at their convenience. This approach suits employees who prefer a more private announcement. It allows them to process the information and respond as they see fit.
2. Manage team expectations
Managing team expectations plays a pivotal role in upholding productivity and morale within the organization. Following the initial announcement of an employee’s departure, it is essential to proactively engage with team members through individual or group meetings to discuss the impending changes and their potential impact on various roles.
In these meetings, fostering openness and transparency is key. Address any forthcoming alterations in responsibilities, potential adjustments to workflows, or temporary role reassignments that may be necessary to accommodate the transition. Encourage team members to voice their concerns or pose questions regarding workload distribution, project deadlines, and the overall functioning of the team in the absence of the departing colleague.
If the intention is to fill the vacant position, sharing details about the recruitment process is prudent. This includes providing insights into the hiring timeline and the steps in securing a suitable replacement. By doing so, concerns regarding increased workloads can be assuaged, and team members can better understand the strategic plan moving forward.
3. Show gratitude and recognition
Expressing genuine gratitude and recognition for the departing employee’s contributions is important. Beyond the formal announcement, take the time to convey appreciation personally and heartlessly.
Consider sending individual thank-you notes or messages to convey gratitude for the employee’s accomplishments and their positive influence on the team. Moreover, recognize their achievements in team meetings or through company-wide communications, highlighting their valuable contributions.
Encouraging team members to share their appreciation can make the gesture even more meaningful. Hearing from colleagues about the departing employee’s positive impact can provide a sense of closure and fulfillment.
Small but thoughtful gestures can further emphasize your gratitude. Consider presenting a farewell card signed by team members or offering a meaningful parting gift. These tangible tokens of appreciation express gratitude and help the employee leave on a positive note, fostering goodwill and a sense of value within the organization.
4. Discuss next steps, including outplacement services
Offering support to the departing employee during their transition is a sign of care. Discussing the next steps demonstrates the company’s commitment to its employees’ well-being, even when they are leaving.
If your company offers outplacement services or career counseling, it’s crucial to go beyond a mere mention of these resources. Take the time to personalize these services for each departing employee, considering their unique career goals and needs.
Personalized career coaching sessions can help departing employees chart their next steps, while access to counseling or mental health services acknowledges their emotional challenges. Additionally, help gathering relevant documentation for their job search, such as recommendation letters or certifications, can be immensely beneficial.
5. Promote knowledge transfer
Promoting knowledge transfer is essential for a smooth transition after an employee departs. Encourage the departing employee to conduct knowledge transfer sessions with their colleagues. These sessions should focus on sharing critical information, processes, and insights directly related to the departing employee’s role. Additionally, consider the option of recording these sessions for future reference.
To further facilitate knowledge retention, create comprehensive documentation or a knowledge repository. This repository should house important documents, procedures, and contact information, making it easier for team members to access vital information after the employee’s departure.
Sample Resignation Templates
Below we have outlined some examples of what an employee resignation announcement can look like. These can be used as a basic template for your organization’s needs.
1. Formal employee resignation announcement
Subject: Formal Resignation Announcement – Farewell to [Employee’s Name]
I hope this message finds you well. It is with mixed emotions that I announce the departure of our esteemed colleague, [Employee’s Name], from our team. [Employee’s Name] has been an invaluable member of our organization and has contributed significantly to our success.
After [X years/months] of dedicated service, [Employee’s Name] has decided to pursue new opportunities and challenges outside of [Company Name]. [His/Her/Their] last day with us will be on [Last Working Day].
During [his/her/their] tenure with us, [Employee’s Name] has been instrumental in [specific achievements or projects], and their expertise and commitment have consistently elevated our team’s performance. [His/her/their] presence will be sorely missed.
We understand that [Employee’s Name]’s departure may raise questions about the transition of [his/her/their] responsibilities. We are actively working on a plan to ensure a smooth handover and continuity of work. In the interim, please direct any inquiries or concerns regarding [Employee’s Name]’s projects to [Supervisor’s Name] or [HR Contact].
We will be organizing a farewell gathering for [Employee’s Name] on [Date] at [Location/Zoom], where we can collectively express our gratitude and best wishes. More details about this event will follow.
Please join me in thanking [Employee’s Name] for [his/her/their] dedication and service to our team and in wishing [him/her/them] success and happiness in [his/her/their] future endeavors. We are grateful for the time [Employee’s Name] has spent with us and look forward to seeing [him/her/them] off on [his/her/their] next exciting journey.
If you have any questions or need additional information regarding this transition, please do not hesitate to contact [HR Contact] or me.
2. Informal resignation announcement example
Subject: Goodbye to Our Amazing Teammate, [Employee’s Name]
I have some news that may make you feel a mix of emotions. Our esteemed colleague, [Employee’s Name], will be bidding farewell to our team as [he/she/they] embarks [embark] on a new journey.
Having been an integral part of our group for [Number of Years], [Employee’s Name] has chosen to explore new horizons. [Employee’s Name]’s last day will be [Last Working Day]. Let’s thank [Employee’s Name] for all [his/her/their] contributions and wish [him/her/them] well as [he/she/they] sets [set] off on [his/her/their] next adventure.
While we will miss [Employee’s Name], we are equally excited to hear about [his/her/their] future endeavors.
3. Employee retirement announcement example
Subject: Celebrating [Employee’s Name]’s Retirement
I hope this message finds you all in good health and high spirits. Today, I have the distinct honor and privilege to share some wonderful news with all of you. Our esteemed colleague and friend, [Employee’s Name], has decided to embark on a new journey filled with relaxation, adventure, and well-deserved time for themselves.
[Employee’s Name] has been an indispensable part of our team for [Number of Years], and [his/her/their] contributions have been nothing short of remarkable. [His/her/their] dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment have played a pivotal role in our success.
As [Employee’s Name] prepares to transition into retirement, it’s a moment to celebrate [his/her/their] outstanding career and to express our heartfelt gratitude for the years of hard work and camaraderie [he has/she has/they have] shared with us. Retirement is not just an ending but also the beginning of a new chapter, and we wish [Employee’s Name] all the joy and fulfillment that this next stage of life has to offer.
[Employee’s Name]’s last day with us will be on [Last Working Day], and we will ensure a smooth transition of [his/her/their] responsibilities. [He/she/they] will be greatly missed, but [his/her/their] legacy will continue to inspire us as we move forward.
Please join me in congratulating [Employee’s Name] on [his/her/their] well-earned retirement and in thanking [him/her/them] for [his/her/their] outstanding service to our team and organization.
Here’s to [Employee’s Name] and the adventures that await in retirement!
4. Employee departure due to layoffs
Subject: [Employee’s Name]’s Departure Announcement
I hope this message finds you all well. I am sorry that I must announce the departure of our esteemed colleague, [Employee’s Name], from our team. [Employee’s Name] has been a dedicated and valued member of our organization for many years, and [his/her/their] contributions have been invaluable to our success.
However, due to recent organizational changes and restructuring, we have had to make some difficult decisions, and unfortunately, [Employee’s Name]’s position has been impacted. We deeply regret having to say goodbye to such a talented and dedicated team member.
[Employee’s Name] has played a significant role in our team, contributing to [specific projects or achievements]. [His/her/their] knowledge, expertise, and commitment have left an indelible mark on our collective efforts.
As we move forward, we will be working closely with [Employee’s Name] to ensure a smooth transition of [his/her/their] responsibilities. [His/her/their] last day with us will be on [Last Working Day], and we will redistribute [his/her/their] workload to other team members as needed.
We understand that this news may be unsettling for some, and we want to assure you that we are committed to supporting everyone through this transition. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to [HR Contact] or [Supervisor’s Name].
Please join me in thanking [Employee’s Name] for [his/her/their] dedication and service to our team and in wishing [him/her/them] the very best in [his/her/their] future endeavors. We may be parting ways professionally, but [Employee’s Name]’s contributions will not be forgotten, and [he/she/they] will always be a part of our [Company Name] family.
The loss of a team member can be an unsettling situation to share with your workforce, though knowing how to properly announce their departure will help make the news easier to process. Resignation announcements can turn potentially uncomfortable scenarios into bittersweet endings for resignees, allowing them to leave the organization on a positive note.