Navigating What’s Next: A Guide for Employers When an Employee Resigns

Posted On

June 30, 2023

Posted By

Kylie Thomas

In today’s dynamic business landscape, employee turnover is an inevitable reality. When an employee resigns, it presents both challenges and opportunities for employers. Effectively managing the transition during this period is crucial to minimise disruption and ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide for employers on navigating what’s next when an employee resigns, covering key steps from acknowledging the resignation to conducting an exit interview. Additionally, we will explore the important considerations regarding an employee’s final pay, the notice period, and leave during the transition.

Acknowledge and Understand the Resignation

When an employee resigns, it is essential to acknowledge their decision promptly and professionally. Schedule a meeting to discuss the resignation, allowing the employee to express their reasons for leaving and ensuring open communication. This meeting presents an opportunity to understand their motivations, identify areas for improvement within the organisation, and potentially address any concerns they may have had. Active listening and empathy are crucial during this conversation to maintain a positive relationship with the resigning employee.

Transition Planning

A well-executed transition plan is vital to maintain productivity and ensure a seamless transfer of responsibilities. Start by identifying critical tasks and determining a realistic timeline for the transition. Depending on the complexity of the role, consider whether an interim solution or selecting a successor is necessary. Involve the resigning employee in the transition planning process, leveraging their expertise to identify key responsibilities and potential challenges. By collaborating with the resigning employee, you can create a comprehensive plan that addresses the needs of the organisation and minimises disruption. Regular communication and updates with the employee and the rest of the team are essential to ensure a smooth transition.

Communication Strategy

During the transition period, open and transparent communication is crucial to alleviate concerns among team members and stakeholders. Develop a communication strategy to inform relevant parties about the resignation and the ensuing plan. Consider the most appropriate channels to disseminate the information, such as team meetings, email updates, or organisational announcements. Address any potential impact on team morale and address questions or uncertainties. Clearly communicate the timeline for the transition and keep everyone involved updated on the progress. Additionally, it is important to communicate the process and timeline for final pay to ensure transparency and avoid any misunderstandings.

Knowledge Transfer and Documentation

One of the significant challenges when an employee resigns is the potential loss of critical knowledge and expertise. To mitigate this risk, establish effective knowledge transfer processes. Encourage the resigning employee to document their workflows, procedures, and any unique insights. Consider implementing shadowing or cross-training opportunities to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to other team members. Furthermore, take this opportunity to review existing documentation, ensuring it is up-to-date and comprehensive. Documentation plays a crucial role in preserving institutional knowledge and allows the incoming employee to quickly adapt to their new role. Document the final pay components to be included and the timeline for payment to ensure accuracy and compliance.

Supporting Remaining Employees

The departure of a colleague can impact the remaining team members, affecting their morale and productivity. To support them during this transition, proactively address any concerns or uncertainties. Redistribute workload if necessary, ensuring that no one is overwhelmed and that key tasks are appropriately covered. Offer additional training or resources to help the team adapt to the changes. Encourage open discussions to allow team members to express their thoughts and provide reassurance about the organisation’s stability and commitment to their growth. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions can help address any challenges and foster a positive work environment during the transition period.

Conducting an Exit Interview

An exit interview is a valuable tool for gaining insights into employee experiences and identifying potential areas for improvement within the organisation. Create a comfortable environment where the resigning employee feels safe to provide honest feedback. Ask relevant questions to understand their reasons for leaving, their perception of the work environment, and any suggestions they may have. Use this feedback constructively to enhance organisational practices and retain valuable employees in the future. During the exit interview, ensure that the final pay components are discussed, and any clarifications or concerns are addressed. It is an opportunity to provide transparency and address any questions related to the employee’s final pay.

Notice Period and Leave

After an employee gives notice, it is crucial for employers to ensure the accuracy of the notice period. Employers do not have the choice to accept or reject an employee’s resignation. Usually, employers acknowledge an employee’s resignation, and the employee continues to work as usual until the end of the notice period when their employment ends.

In cases where the employer doesn’t want the employee to work through the notice period, it is important to refer to the terms of the relevant award, enterprise agreement, other registered agreement, or employment contract. These documents may provide guidance on the options available when an employer doesn’t want an employee to work out the notice period.

During the notice period, an employee can take paid annual leave if their employer agrees to it. Notice periods generally include public holidays, but these holidays do not usually extend the notice period.

If an employee needs to take paid sick or carer’s leave during the notice period, they should provide notice of the leave as soon as possible and provide evidence if requested by the employer, such as a medical certificate.

In cases where an employee has exhausted their paid sick leave, they may be able to take unpaid leave during the notice period. The employee should provide notice and evidence to their employer.


Navigating the transition when an employee resigns is a critical task for employers. By following the outlined steps in this guide, employers can effectively manage the process and minimise disruption. Acknowledging and understanding the resignation, creating a transition plan, establishing a communication strategy, facilitating knowledge transfer, supporting remaining employees, conducting an exit interview, and ensuring timely and accurate final pay, notice period, and leave management are all essential components of a successful transition. Embrace resignations as opportunities for growth and improvement within your organisation. With a thoughtful and proactive approach, you can navigate these transitions with professionalism and ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities, including the employee’s final pay and managing the notice period and leave effectively.

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