What to do when a new employee resigns

“I wanted to let you know that I would like to quit.”

As confronting as these words are, they form an aspect that every workplace has to deal with. When a new employee asks a manager to speak in private, chances are that the conversation is going to take a serious turn. The moment they spill the news of their resignation, it is one of the manager’s fears come true.


This news can be disappointing, but it’s important to remain in charge of the conversation rather than let it descend into  disaster. While interacting with a new employee who has just informed you about their decision to quit, you must –

Always be gracious

You might feel betrayed, rejected, or slapped in the face, but your attitude should be as gracious as possible. The objective here is to come across as a person with a positive attitude, not as someone who is bursting at the seams with anger or frustration.

Always bear in mind that your attitude is one of the things that can make or break this conversation. Therefore, by going into it with a positive attitude, not only can you find out the reason that triggered this decision but also judge whether you can convince them otherwise.

Gather information

The most information that you can gather at this point is finding out the reasons for quitting. Some of the most common reasons that cause new hires to resign are:

  • Having a  better offer in the wings, in terms of remuneration or amenities or both;
  • Probability of relocating to another city;
  • Flexibility in working hours;
  • Problem fitting into the workplace in terms of ethics/behavior;
  • Dissatisfaction with the portfolio/position accorded.

As the employer, always phrase your questions in a manner that they are open-ended but at the same time enable you to elicit relevant information. Don't assume an intrusive or an offensive tone that could cause the new hire to clamp down or take a defensive stance.

Whether to woo or not

When you understand what the reason was for the resignation, assess the situation with your HR team. Depending on the seniority and importance of the role, you can consider whether to make a counter offer or bypass and start recruitment, taking onboard any feedback the new employee has.

Here are some of the most common scenarios and tips on how to manage them:

  • A bad experience during the onboarding process. If there are issues with their direct manager or team, ensure that you get constructive feedback as part of the exit interview. If there has been a misunderstanding or miscommunication during the onboarding process sometimes a face to face conversation with HR as a mediator can help clarify the situation.
  • In case of a problem at home, flexible working hours or a work-from-home opportunity could solve the issue.
  • There might be a feeling of incompatibility with the role assigned or the people around which can be resolved by shifting the employee to a different department or changing the team.

Making a counter offer that is salary based is usually a last resort option. In situations where the salary they have been offered is going to surpass your headcount budget, it is better to bid adieu, offer your best wishes and express the hope of staying in touch in the future.

At this point, be prepared for any reply that you get and plan your next question accordingly. If you succeed in convincing the new hire to stay on, then congratulate yourself on your negotiating skills. However, if the new employee remains adamant about the resignation, your next step should be to put the offboarding process in motion.

Dos and don’ts while interacting

Final thoughts

Empathy is the key while interacting with a new hire who wants to resign after a few days or couple of months at work. Despite the fact that the news might trigger a gamut of emotions within you and throw your plans off, if you do your best to salvage the situation you will get valuable feedback in the process regardless of whether your new hire stays or leaves.

About Pulse Software

Pulse Software is a leading business process management solution provider. Pulse aligns people with industry-leading solutions for government agencies and private enterprises.

For more information call 1300 363 325 or email sales@pulsesoftware.com