Business

What Do I Do If My Employee Quits?

July 20, 2022

Last year, 4.3 million Americans left their jobs. Most of the articles you read are about the experience of the employees, but what about the employers who are left in the lurch?

cartoon image of a resignation paper and a man with a briefcase walking away

In December of last year, a staggering 4.3 million Americans left their jobs. Most of the articles and news stories you hear about are centered around the experience of the employees, but what about the employers who are left in the lurch?

I have written about the Great Resignation many times, but today I am approaching it from a different perspective. How can you, as an employer, maintain good employee retention? And what should you do if someone suddenly quits? There are many things to take into consideration, both legally and practically.

What are the effects of sudden employee loss?

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A sudden resignation can throw a department or even an entire small business into panic mode. I know a young mom who owns a cafe that lost a number of employees last year. Suddenly, she was spending morning, noon and night running her cafe with barely a moment to breathe. If you peeked over the counter you could see her one-year-old bouncing away in a portable baby walker. It was difficult to run the shop efficiently without enough help. There were long wait times and frustrated customers. It took her a long time to recover from the disruption to the flow of business. In her case, the employees quit to pursue higher paying jobs. This is a struggle for many small businesses that can’t afford to compete with the companies that are able to offer $20+ an hour. That is just not sustainable for so many small businesses. Companies like that should consider other ways to incentivize and retain employees.

Why do they leave?

a woman has a big smile while holding up two peace signs with her fingers

Indeed.com says “It’s important to know why employees leave because when a company has a high turnover rate, this could signify low employee job satisfaction. Hiring new employees to fill these openings requires time and effort, which is why it’s useful for employers to find ways to keep their current employees around. By knowing the reasons employees leave, employers can directly solve a reoccurring issue and make a more pleasant work environment for everyone.”

Some of the top reasons that employees quit their jobs are:

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Seeking higher pay: Why would they want to stay at a job that is underpaying them when so many companies are offering increased wages these days?

Company benefits: Employees may feel that they can go elsewhere to receive better health coverage, PTO or even the opportunity to work remotely. 

Work-life balance: If the job is following them home and they rarely have an opportunity to decompress from the stress of work, chances are they won’t stay for the long haul.

Job creep: When the original job description begins to morph into more responsibility than what they were hired for, without any additional pay, it is called job creep. It is a common reason for people to want to go where they are valued and properly compensated for increases in job responsibilities. 

Opportunity for growth: Employees are unlikely to want to stay in a place where they can’t advance. Without the opportunity to get raises and promotions many will feel unchallenged and unmotivated, and seek other opportunities.

What should you do after you receive their notice?

A woman appears to be interviewed by two other women

1. Don’t be afraid to ask why. It is really important for the growth of your business that you know what you could do better. Conduct an exit interview and if it is a really phenomenal employee, consider offering to collaborate on ways that they might be open to staying. If they are set on quitting, it is crucial that all legal requirements be fulfilled. 

According to Upwork, that includes:

Making sure their final paycheck includes all accrued wages, commissions, and bonus payments required by contract or law

• Paying out any payable accrued benefits

• Providing all required legal notices, which may include unemployment, workers’ compensation, and COBRA benefit continuation information

• Reviewing and reiterating the terms of any employment, noncompete, and confidentiality agreements that the employee signed during their employment

2. Begin to shift tasks to independent contractors or team members who can help keep the workflow going, while you work on replacing your employee.

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3. If possible, promote internally. Many times there will be someone who already works for you who is ready and capable of filling the role that has been vacated. It also saves you time and resources compared to starting the hiring process from scratch.

4. Make any necessary changes within the company based on the feedback you received. Employee retention is so important. If one employee is dissatisfied chances are others are too. Consider anonymously surveying employees to gauge their satisfaction and implementing any feasible changes to avoid any more employee loss. 

5. Use a company, like Journey Payroll & HR, to help you with your onboarding process. This can save you a lot of time and stress and ensures that your new employees have the best first impression of your company when it comes to efficiency and professionalism.

6. Try to stay on top of market trends and workplace culture norms. Make sure to maintain a space where your employees feel valued, respected and challenged.

It is inevitable that you will lose employees from time to time. But keeping a positive workplace culture and offering fair, competitive benefits and wages will help guarantee that you are business without high turnover, that everyone wants to work for. 


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