The Impact of Resignation

Human Resources

When you hear the word "resignation" whether you are an owner of an SME or manager of a large corporation, there is always an impact of some kind. Over the past two decades in business, we have employed full time and casuals, both administration and field workers. We currently employ over 60 people and this has varied over the years, so you can imagine we have had our fair share of resignations

I believe there are three types of resignation:

1.Surprise and Delight Resignation 

This is the employee from hell, who has a poor attitude, a non-team player and doesn’t perform well in their duties. I call them the Skunk -- they effect other team members and customers like a bad odour. When they hand over their written resignation, you can hardly contain yourself from jumping up and shouting “Hooray” -- good riddance.

2.Unexpected and Vindictive Resignation 

This is the employee who has been smiling and says everything is wonderful, until one day you receive an email that is like a daily journal telling you how bad you, the company and other team members are. They then become vindictive by going to work for a competitor and sharing your IP. You are left in a state of shock as there was no warning, you feel like you’ve been rung out to dry.

3.Planned Resignation 

This is the employee who you least want to leave. However, due to family reasons, the birth of a baby or an opportunity for career development, you have to accept that they are moving on. Both you and the employee work together on a timeline, perhaps even having them train someone in their position. There is no animosity and the door is always open for them if they wish to return.

In the past twelve months, we have experienced two of these resignations which have impacted our business development, team members, and customers. 


My PA and Senior Administration person discussed with me that her husband and herself were planning a family months beforehand so when the day came, it wasn’t totally unexpected and we were able to plan six months in advance. Being an SME providing a service to a multi-million dollar industry, she knew the importance of finding someone to replace her and train them. We decided on a twelve-week training period, which gave us both the confidence in the new candidate. All of our customers and team workers out on the field were aware of the situation so it was a smooth transition.

Being a new mother it was hard to put a date on her return full time, so we kept in touch and worked out a solution that suits us both where she now works from home on a casual basis, with her being able to be flexible to suit the demands of a toddler while we have hired others to undertake other parts of her role. Breaking her role into parts and planning in advance made this a resignation that considered both parties without any disruption to our customers and provided an opportunity for others in the company to work in new areas thereby creating new business leads.


We hired someone in a Senior Administration role who always came to work happy, when asked did they need any support or did they have any questions they always smiled and said no, everything is under control and it’s great you are here to answer any questions I may have. So you can imagine my surprise when I returned from a business trip to find her belongings all packed up, the office lights off and the key wedged under the door. With no letter of resignation or any explanation, I was in shock - as were our team members and some of our clients, as emails had not been answered for days and the message bank was full on the telephone. 

Fortunately, we have a team that works off site, so we were able to cover her role and delegate work, so there was little disruption to our clients. It was two days later when I received an email that detailed every day she had worked with us on a daily basis for the past 8 weeks. It was like a personal journal, saying horrible and vicious comments about others and myself. We realised that this person would have caused major issues in our company and although it was a sudden departure and I will admit hurtful, we are so glad that she left when she did, as it was before her probation had finished.

The first rule in business is if you are going to hire then you have to be prepared to fire. There is no rule for resignations, you just hope you provide a workplace culture that is positive and welcoming, whereby all team members have common values.

Michelle Pascoe

at Michelle Pascoe

Professional Speaker, Trainer, Coach & Author. I live and breathe my passion for customer service, mystery shopping and team motivation. I'm an experienced businesswomen & specialist in every aspect of service operations & processes and their impact on the customer experience. As an international speaker and accredited trainer & assessor, I combine my extensive experience and specialised knowledge with an absolute commitment to igniting the potential in each individual.

Comments (1)
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Great article. It is important to keep a pulse on how employees are performing and what their goals are from the beginning. If you can proactively workout mismatches in culture, expectations and goals things will go more smoothly. However, as stated, you cannot be prepared for all situations.