What to do when an employee quits suddenly
Do you know what to do when an employee quits suddenly without warning? Maybe you had it all figured out in 2019, but then the world shifted and the Great Resignation reared its ugly head. Now it’s no longer a matter of losing the occasional employee but rather weathering constant waves of sudden turnover. More than 47 million U.S. employees quit their jobs in 2021, and turnover continues to remain high.
It’s decidedly important to address the underlying reasons why an employee quits suddenly and determine how to quickly close operational gaps as the frontline is especially sensitive to high turnover. And this doesn’t show any signs of stopping soon.
Have a strategy for addressing the employee’s departure
The first step is recognizing that turnover is going to happen. That’s unavoidable. And not every exiting employee is going to give two weeks’ notice to human resources. Some employees quit on the spot, and others will just ghost you without a word of explanation. From there, it’s up to the remaining employees to pick up the slack.
Your strategy for mitigating this issue might include hiring slightly more staff than you need, offering special perks to employees who fill shifts on short notice, and accepting applications on a continuous basis so that you always have fresh candidates to interview when you need them.
To prepare for those inevitable personnel gaps and prevent disruptions, there are two especially important areas you’ll want to focus on: technology and training.
In many ways, these two things go hand in hand.
Use technology to expedite new hire training
When an employee quits suddenly, your first priority should be to bring a replacement employee up to speed as quickly as possible. This will help to limit the strain on the rest of your team as they’re forced to temporarily fill the gap that the departing employee left behind.
Technology makes it possible to cross-train people quickly when your resources are already exhausted. Specifically, you want to invest in quality modern tech that supports ongoing digital training via microlearning.
Microlearning involves training employees in short, information-dense intervals. With a microlearning platform like Axonify, a new employee can get right to work, often the same day they’re hired. They might still receive some hands-on training and shadowing in their first few days, but they don’t need to endure hours-long orientations and dedicated training lectures from other team members who are already over-extended.
Cross-train your existing employees
It’s not enough to expedite new-hire training. If you want to keep things running smoothly amid unpredictable employee turnover, you have to build an agile workforce. That means ensuring that your existing team members possess the skills and confidence to switch gears at a moment’s notice.
For example, if you manage a grocery store, you want to cross-train your employees so that they can comfortably move between the checkout line, deli, bakery and produce department as needed—while even picking up the occasional click-and-collect shift. When your current team members are equipped to run the entire floor (or at least a sizable portion of it), you have a much bigger pool to choose from when an employee goes MIA. However, if only three people are trained in produce and you suddenly lose one of them, you might be in trouble.
The good news is that it’s not difficult to upskill, reskill and cross-train your employees. You can use the same microlearning technology that you’re using to onboard new hires. Remember, microlearning is about short, impactful training sessions delivered each day. So as long as your employees continue with their daily lessons, you can constantly expand their knowledge and ensure that they’re ready to take on new roles as needed. This type of versatility training can be a lifesaver when your business gets hit with an unexpected employee resignation.
Address operational gaps quickly
Don’t let a resigning employee derail your business. If you have the kind of strategy outlined above, you’ll have a lot less to worry about when employees quit. If you don’t have a strategy in place yet, it’s not too late to streamline your training so that new hires are onboarded quickly by investing in an employee engagement platform with microlearning and implementing it across the board for new and existing employees alike.
Most importantly, work toward building a rock-solid company culture filled with engaged employees. When you focus on minimizing turnover in the first place, your sudden losses will feel much more manageable.