I was recently asked how to deal with an employee who had submitted her resignations after only four weeks on the job. The manager who asked my advice was evidently enraged and furious for this outcome. She felt the victim of a selfish employee. When I asked what made her so upset and hurt she told me that it was mainly because of the waste of investing in training a person who was then leaving without making any contribution. Basically, to her eyes, her employee only took without giving back to the company. I asked then what she thought were the reasons for her employee to leave that soon and apparently a better job opportunity came across and difficult to refuse.
I was not in the position to have a dialogue with the employee. Hence, I will not discuss here those situations or analyse the behaviour. Instead I want to talk through a series of steps that in my view are useful to manage an exit when you feel hurt.
In this specific example, it is easy to blame the employee and see the manager/company as the victim. The first step I recommend to focus on is acknowledging we have a part. It is important (and challenging) to release or in some cases renew the relationship. The "wrong" is not all on one side. If we are capable to see it it, it is easier to think about what we could do to improve the workplace. It is not about changing the outcome but rather creating an environment that renews and improves continuously.
We can take responsibility for our part in a way that frees us from feeling a victim. This is important for all of us no exceptions. I believe that when we feel as the victims of circumstances we actually diminish our personal power.
The second important step is asking "Why". My advice is to seek understanding on the truth of why we feel hurt. We don't move forward only from our heads, but rather from our hearts. Acknowledging and understanding our emotions is critical to move forward.
After asking the "Why" it is important to ask for "What" we need to be able to renew or release the relationship. Getting or not what we need shouldn't determine whether we renew or release the relationship. It is a personal choice not a trade off.
This case isn't a story of renewing a working relationship as the employee had decided to leave, however, it is important to clarify what renew is. Renew isn't starting back to where we were with the next employee. It is about creating a new relationship. I remember asking my client what were the lessons she could bring into hiring a new candidate and what were her next steps for not letting this experience interfere negatively on her next hire.
Ultimately releasing the hurt meant for my client releasing not only her employee but and for most the story she had created of that relationship where she was being the victim of a selfish employee.
These steps are useful, in my view, to move pass the victim feeling, either be the employee or the manager.
I always recommend to have an exit interview. As managers is crucial to know and value the experience of employees, those who are staying and those who have decided to leave, to improve the workplace environment. As employees is important too to be able to start fresh in a new role. Ask for one if your manager hasn't planned it.