How to Treat an Employee That Has Given Notice
Receiving a two plus weeks notice from an employee is always sign for trouble. It doesn't matter if the employee is quitting because they’re moving or if they quit because of reasons within the company, the employer has to replace them. While it depends on how long the employee had been with the company, there is still an impact especially when the company is family owned or very small. This doesn't mean they deserve a harsh goodbye.
There’s nothing worse than having a great employee leave and the employer's answer to retaliating them is to mistreat them. It could be that the employer's plan is to make the problem easier for themselves but in the long run, it makes things worse for the employer and the employee that quit. Termination is never fun but the final message is the most important. It can help the employee determine whether they'd recommend other people to work for that particular employer or not. It’s not a good feeling when somebody is mistreated especially when they were an good employee merely because they were leaving.
Examples of mistreatment:
- When notice was given, management waited until the last day of the week to let the employee know that that day was their last day. This was a week before their scheduled departure. This was possibly because of budget cuts. The other theory is that they wanted a clean break. This caused the employee to feel inadequate afterwards and feel like they were thrown in the trash.
- When notice was given, management decided to give the employee a warning for something that has never been perceived as an issue or problem for other employees either. The owner spent a good half an hour talking about how they could do whatever they wanted with the store even though it was causing problems between the owner and the general manager.
- When notice was given and the employee was unable to complete the two weeks because of car trouble, a manager decided that the best way to send them along was to write a severance notice declaring she would NEVER be able to work at the store again because she didn't complete her two weeks. (This is in a right to work state)
- When notice was given, initially there was no trouble but then the last week, the employee was forced to inform customers that they were no longer receiving service because they were moving. This was with a customer that was paying below market price because the owner had wanted to help them out.
- When notice was given, the employee was supposed to help complete training and owners decided not to use them for the last month they had been available
While the degree of severity between these separate situations, they are all ugly and do not offer a good severance between the employee and the employer. It's very important to perform an exit interview prior to the employee's last day to get a better understanding of their experience. This also helps the employee feel like even though they are leaving, they are being given an opportunity to relay an important message to the employer about their experience in the workplace.
If mistreating the employee is the only way an employer wants to end their relationship with their former employees, that's a sign of poor management. Word does get around and it also affects how future employees will leave. In these cases, the employee had been a model employee. It’s distasteful how employers think that because they have to either go through the pains of re-hiring, downsizing, or redistribution of responsibility, it’s okay to treat the employee as if they are to blame for problems within the company or for things completely out of their control. Sometimes the best thing an employer can do is respectfully inform the employee that their services aren't needed and that their time on the job was valued and allow them to finish the hours they have already been given. a bit of kindness goes a long way.