1. Ask them why they’re leaving. Not in an intrusive or demanding way - but in an exit interview.
Finding the reasons below the surface may bring things to your attention that could be negatively affecting the business or other good employees. Try to take the feedback seriously and see what positive changes could come of it.
2. Show that you aren’t resentful. Let them know you appreciated all their hard work and that they made an impact.
When announcing the departure to the rest of the team, remain positive and reinforce the departing employee’s contributions so that there won’t be an air of negativity.
3. Offer a letter of recommendation, or even a referral, if they were truly a good employee.
Let them know they can contact you in the future for such things if they need it. If they were valuable and professional, they deserve it.
4. Tell them they are always welcome back.
Even if you are confused or disheartened by the news, they were a good employee. Those that have a proven track record of success and fit your culture can be hard to come by, so you should be excited to have them back again if their circumstances change.
5. Wish them tremendous success in their future endeavors - and actually mean it.
You might not have seen it coming, but your employee is likely leaving for a reason that could have been prevented.
Fair pay, more responsibility, more visibility in the company, better benefits, the list goes on.
No matter how you feel about it, always treat a good employee with respect and a level head when they resign.