How to Address the Great Resignation from Within

The recent resignation rates present a significant challenge for employers to attract and retain workers. When high-achieving, admired employees resign, coworkers and managers experience various feelings, especially those associated with uncertainty. Managers are responsible for executing processes and supporting teams and, therefore, must manage their reactions and strategically navigate an employee’s resignation to positively impact employee morale and engagement.

Below are tools for managers to consider as they navigate employee resignations.

Announce the News

Before sharing the news with anyone, managers should carefully consider their responses. They can process the resignation by listing the departing employee’s achievements, for example, which can generate a more positive outlook on the circumstances and help guide the announcement. By first processing the resignation themselves and evaluating the situation, managers can better communicate with their team.

When sharing the news of employee departures with their team, managers should position the change in a positive light. Well-liked employees are often good friends with coworkers and may consider them family, so managers can start by heralding former employees to demonstrate their care. Using their list, they can say a few words about the great things these workers contributed to the team and recall stories that bring smiles to everyone’s face. Above all, managers should emphasize to everyone that employees who move on do not automatically move out of their lives and can also share suggestions on ways to stay connected to help ease the loss coworkers may experience. 

Support Employee Emotions

Not so long ago, showing emotions in the workplace was taboo and suggested weakness and unprofessionalism. But the pandemic gave rise to more empathetic employers and employees, resulting in a safer workplace where individuals can share their feelings.  

However, some employees may still feel uncomfortable expressing themselves and how they feel about colleague departures. Therefore, managers should take the opportunity to proactively acknowledge their feelings and encourage employees to reflect and express their emotions. Additionally, managers should establish an open-door policy for further discussion.

Moreover, employee morale can be affected when a coworker departs, so managers should give people time and space to process how the change will impact their role. Leaders may conduct one-on-one meetings with employees to gauge their feelings, discuss any additional responsibilities, or provide time off if needed. To keep spirits high, employers should rally the team around wins and take steps to promote employee recognition.

Make Practical Considerations

An employee’s departure will directly impact the workload and responsibilities of those who remain. Thus, a manager’s goal is to minimize disruptions that can impact a team’s engagement and workflow. Managers should assess other employees’ workload and capacity first and then conduct meetings with individual employees to reassign responsibilities and determine if additional training is needed to accomplish tasks. By establishing clear guidelines on the roles and responsibilities of each team member, managers give employees an opportunity to bond as they help keep the group moving forward with renewed confidence.

A colleague’s departure also opens the door for employee growth by providing leadership with the opportunity to fill the vacant position from the pool of existing, well-qualified employees. This will ultimately demonstrate the company’s commitment to professional growth.

Business leaders should always be prepared to face a resignation, especially in today’s labor market, and handle the effects on remaining employees and the company. When leaders address the loss felt by employees, the Great Resignation can actually strengthen a company’s culture.

Jill Chapman is a senior HR specialist with Insperity, a national provider of HR and business performance solutions. For more information about Insperity, call 800-465-3800 or visit

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