Man Overboard! What To do If an Employee Suddenly Quits

Man Overboard! What To do If an Employee Suddenly Quits | Pirate Staffing

When an employee suddenly quits, it can send a shock wave through your entire company. Yet in today’s tight labor market, odds are good that you will experience this at least once. Here are some tips for managing the fallout following an unexpected employee departure.

What Should You Do If An Employee Suddenly Quits?


If you run a smaller company, it’s easy to take it personally. But when an employee suddenly quits, there are generally solid reasons for it that have nothing to do with you. Now is the time to analyze what happened and make a plan of action.

The first step is to calmly speak with the employee. Is there something you could do to get them to stay? Perhaps what the person really wants is a raise or a change in daily duties. Or maybe there is something going on in the workplace that they are no longer willing to put up with. An exit interview can help identify issues that should be addressed, even if you decide not to make a counteroffer.

Keep It Legal

There are laws and regulations governing employee departures, and you will want to make sure that you check all the boxes. If you have a human resources department, let them handle it. If not, consider checking with a labor law attorney. You’ll need to ensure that all documentation is accurately completed and the final paycheck includes everything to which the employee is legally entitled.

Make a Plan

In the short run, you’ll need to make sure that all of the departing employee’s tasks are covered. This generally means shifting projects to other employees. But if the person was in a key role or your team is already stretched thin, it may be best to bring on a temporary worker to fill the gap.

Long-term, you will likely want to replace the employee with another full-time worker. Take your time with the hiring process, as you want someone who is truly the right fit. Consider working with a staffing agency, that can provide you with a shortlist of fully vetted candidates to interview.

Be Transparent

When a well-liked employee suddenly quits, it can set off all sorts of rumors across the company. It can also inspire other employees to consider leaving. The best way to combat these effects is to be transparent with your team. You don’t need to tell everyone exactly why the person left and doing so could be an invasion of privacy. But you need to clearly communicate what happens next.

Address the Problems

If your exit interview uncovered issues within the company, now is the time to address them. Maybe you need to rethink processes, improve your corporate culture, or provide additional training. Put together a task force consisting of both managers and front-line workers to identify additional problems and brainstorm solutions.

Need New Talent?

If you’re ready to bring on new temp-to-hire, temporary, or permanent employees, Pirate Staffing is here for you. Learn what we can do to help, and then contact us to get started.