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Your Employee Tells You They’re Quitting. How Should You Respond?

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An employee giving their notice doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world — or the relationship. Here’s how to respond in a constructive and professional way when a direct report tells you they’re quitting. First, take a moment to digest the news. It’s okay to show you’re surprised or to say something like, “Wow, I wasn’t expecting that.” The last thing you want to do is react impulsively and say something you might regret. Show your support and genuine interest in why they’re leaving and what they’re going to do next. And make sure to get clarity on what they need from you — and what you need from them — before they leave to ensure a smooth transition. This may involve some give-and-take and could include finishing a specific project, training others, or even hiring their replacement. Even if you’re upset, you want the person to leave with a good impression of you and the organization so you can all move on in a positive way.

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