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Topic: Termination

letter to discuss resignation
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Letter to discuss resignation

Letter to discuss resignation

Use our letter to set up an informal meeting to discuss an employee’s reasons for leaving where they’ve resigned. It’s particularly useful if you want to persuade a key employee to change their mind. Act swiftly, consider what the root cause of any problem is and then decide if you can address it.

Swift action

It’s important not to delay when dealing with an employee’s resignation, particularly if you want them to change their mind. The closer it gets to their termination date, the less likely the employee is to do a U-turn. Send our Letter to Discuss Resignation within a couple of days of your receipt of their resignation and then arrange for a meeting to take place as soon as possible thereafter. Our letter sets up a meeting with the employee and states that its purpose is to discuss their reasons for leaving and any other matters that may be relevant to their decision to go. In addition, there’s an optional sentence which provides that, in particular, you want to explore whether there’s any possibility of persuading them to change their mind about their resignation. You don’t have to try to persuade someone to stay on; it’s entirely up to you whether you want to. So the meeting could simply discuss the employee’s reasons for leaving with a view to ensuring there are no issues or problems of which you may have previously been unaware. There’s also our more formal Invitation to Attend an Exit Interview and Exit Questionnaire you can use here.

Meeting discussions

At the meeting itself, discuss with the employee what exactly led them to their resignation decision. Once you know the root cause of the problem (if any), you can then try to tackle it. It’s unlikely you’ll persuade an employee to stay on without offering any additional incentives, particularly if they’ve already accepted another job offer elsewhere. Once you know what the problem is, consider exploring one or more of the following (which you can always do at a follow-up meeting if you need time to consider your options):

  • pay and benefits - could you offer a salary increase, improved bonus or commission terms or an enhanced benefits package?
  • working time and work location - do they need to change their hours or days of work or be permitted to work from home occasionally?
  • duties and responsibilities - is there a problem with some of their job duties or responsibilities and can those be easily changed, or are they feeling disenchanted at a lack of career progression?
  • personality clashes - is the issue that they don’t get on with their colleagues or line manager and could desk locations or reporting structures be changed?

Whilst you should insist on confidentiality (insofar as this is possible) in relation to any changes that you both agree as part of a retention deal, do be alert to the precedent you might be setting here in relation to other members of staff if they find out what you’ve done to keep this employee, particularly in relation to the delicate topic of pay and benefits. You might even have handed another employee a potential equal pay or discrimination claim!

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