Managing people out of the business

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Last updated on May 4, 2017
Employees may leave your business voluntarily, or you may need to make a position redundant or terminate a person’s employment.

It is wise to get advice before you dismiss an employee, as employers must satisfy particular legal obligations.

Regardless of the reason for an employee leaving your business, it is useful to have an exit process in place.

Exit interviews

An exit interview with a departing employee is one way of capturing information that ordinarily may not be available to you. Find out the reason(s) that someone is leaving so that, if necessary, you can make changes in the workplace so that others don’t leave for the same reasons.

During an exit interview with an employee:

  • manage it like any other meeting – keep it formal and take notes
  • present questions as a way of obtaining information that may be useful to the business
  • ask questions that allow employees to give as much information as they wish
  • ask what attracted them to their new position if they’re going to another employer. This may give you an idea of what benefits/rewards other businesses are offering and may help you to retain other employees.
The exit process should also be managed from a security point of view:
  • Consider what needs to be returned or terminated (such as uniforms, keys and email accounts). Handle these requests sensitively – you don’t want it to seem as though you distrust the person.
  • Working out a period of notice is often required. However, where employees have access to commercial-in-confidence information or material, you may need to consider forgoing the notice period. This is especially relevant if the individual is moving on to another business that may be a competitor.
  • There are rules covering the circumstances in which employees may leave without serving their period of notice. Check the relevant agreement and seek advice.


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