So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

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27 February 2014

posted in Business | Employment | Resignation

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It has been said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. For business owners, the list also includes employee resignations. Just like death and taxes, resignations never occur at a convenient time, but employers can, and should, ensure that they are prepared for the inevitable.

Whatever the reason for the employee’s resignation, that employee has spent time in their previous employer’s business environment and will have had access to things such as IT systems, trade secrets, customer relationships, tools and equipment and the like. At the time of that employee’s departure it is important to ensure that there are sufficient mechanisms in place to ensure the protection of such property and to make sure all loose ends resulting from that employee’s departure are tidied up in a systematic, timely and non-contentious manner.

Here are five matters business owners should turn their mind to when handling a resignation:

  1. The finer details: Check the employee’s employment agreement to confirm the obligations and rights of each party in relation to the resignation. In particular, the manner in which the resignation is to be notified (i.e. in writing or verbally) and the notice period the employee is required to give. The agreement should also be reviewed for restraint provisions that may prevent the employee from things such as working for a competing company for a period of time.
  2. Communication: Consider how and when the employee’s resignation will be notified to colleagues, customers or other stakeholders who the employee engages with on a regular basis. In some situations, it may be beneficial for a mutually agreed announcement regarding the employee’s departure to be prepared so as to ensure the resignation is communicated in an accurate and consistent manner.
  3. Outstanding tasks and handovers: Inevitably there will be tasks or pieces of work that have been assigned to the resigning employee that will need to be completed prior to the employee’s departure, handed over to colleagues or briefed to the incoming replacement. It is useful to ask the employee to prepare a list of outstanding tasks to determine those that will be completed prior the employee’s departure or will need to be reassigned. It is also useful to ask the employee to prepare a list of their routine duties they undertake in their position to ensure that any information known solely by the employee is documented and/or imparted to others.
  4. Tools and Equipment: Not only should the employer ensure any tangible items such as keys, fobs, phone, laptop or iPad are returned, it is also important to consider discontinuing any remote electronic access to computer systems and ensure electronic copies of information in the employee’s possession are returned. More importantly, any access the employee may have had to bank accounts, social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) or your website should be discontinued. Also, consider how to manage the employee’s social media connections obtained in the course of their employment (see Why can't we be friends? Why can't we be friends? Why can't we be friends?).  It may be useful to compile a checklist for the employee to sign confirming the return of all property, records and information prior to their departure.
  5. Exit Interview: An employee’s resignation provides an opportunity for obtaining valuable information from them about their thoughts and perceptions of the company. Exit interviews may help to identify suggestions for improvement in the company or confirm areas in which the company is particularly good.

While the above matters become critically important at the time of an employee’s departure, it is beneficial and prudent to include them in an exit policy or policies so that each party is clear from the commencement of the employment relationship how matters will be dealt with when the relationship comes to an end.

POSTED BY
27 February 2014

posted in BusinessEmploymentResignation

VIEWED 2517 TIMES

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