How to manage an employee's departure

Reviewed by Suzanne Staunton, employment barrister, Guildhall Chambers

  1. Man walking through office door - How to manage an employee's departureBe prepared - people leave their jobs for a variety of reasons and it is vital you have a policy in place to establish what your ‘exit’ process is, so everyone knows what is expected of them.
  2. Determine which day they will actually finish - will they be working their full notice period or taking any remaining paid holiday?
  3. Work out what projects can reasonably be finished within their notice period and ensure that they are managing them effectively.
  4. Consider asking them to sign a confidentiality agreement to protect your data when they leave.
  5. Secure your IT - ensure that access to your systems is suspended and all relevant passwords are changed.
  6. Reassign work to your existing team until a replacement can be found.
  7. Ensure the departing employee writes a thorough handover document detailing each of their tasks and including any key contacts.
  8. Work out the final salary as your employee may be entitled to additional pay for untaken holiday, bonus payments or statutory sick pay.
  9. Hold an exit interview asking for their honest feedback on their reasons for leaving.
  10. Ensure any reference you provide is honest, accurate and fair.
  11. A valued employee’s leaving can be stressful, but try to end their employment on good terms - many firms throw a party or buy gifts to say goodbye.

Cardinal Rules


  • conduct an exit interview
  • pay your leaving employee any outstanding salary
  • provide a reference if requested


  • forget to change IT passwords
  • expect your employee to manage the handover alone

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