We’ve all been there. You just got into the office, put your keys down and an employee drops the bomb, "I quit."
It might have come out of the blue from one of your best employees. Or, maybe it came from an employee that you've never gotten along with. Regardless of the reasoning, it's never a positive experience to have one of your employees unexpectedly quit.
When this happens, you have three options:
1. “I’ll get your last check right now.”
This might come off sounding unfeeling and harsh, but it's actually the best way to go. When you tell an employee that you'll get his check, you force yourself to accept the inevitable and avoid contaminating your other employees.
It’s like a marriage. If someone is having an affair, his interests are elsewhere. Even if he tries to maintain appearances, he’d still rather be somewhere else. You need to let this employee go, rather than fight the inevitable.
2. "Let’s talk about it,”
In this response, you're reacting to your employe, not the other way around. If he has threatened to quit more than once, this could be a way to assert control. He could feel neglected or need approval.
Likewise, this option puts the employer and employee at an equal level. You are no longer the boss. Though this might lead you to keep an employee out of sympathy, it will cost you later in business.
I once met with an employee after inviting him to “talk about it.” He gave me four pages explaining why our business was terrible. Some of what he said was true, but it wasn't constructive or an efficient use of our time because he'd already decided to leave. If he had come to me before quitting, it might have been different.
3. “I’m sorry, what can I do to get you to stay?”
With this response, you're putting the employee in charge. Often, this is a way for an employer to acknowledge his failures as a boss, which can make him feel better. However, it won't solve the problem and it can actually make it worse.
Bargaining with your employee is the weakest option and sometimes results in the employee receiving a raise. If an employee wants to quit, he's going to quit eventually and giving him a raise in the meantime won't change that.
Bob Phibbs is the Retail Doctor, helping businesses of all sizes grow and deliver an exceptional experience for their customers since 1994. Download a free chapter of his latest book, The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business (Wiley) here.