My Direct Report Just Quit, What Do I Do?

John Hartley
5 min readJul 27, 2022

I’ve written plenty on how to quit a job, but how do you respond when you’re on the other side of things?

That’s it. Post over.

The real #1 here is “don’t turn into a jerk.” They are leaving. It’s done. Don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be. Instead, move forward and think about how to help the rest of your team.

There are so many more “do not’s” when someone submits their resignation, but we’ll get to that in a later post. The below outlines how to create a solid transition plan from the moment someone hands in or emails their resignation through their final day, and how to prevent your ship from sinking in between.

1. Determine the final day for the exiting employee

In many cases, the exiting employee will give two weeks' notice (thank you archaic business practices). In some cases, that two weeks won’t be needed. No one wants to sit around waiting to finish out their time, so make some decisions and determine if the full two weeks are needed. If not, set them free.

Say it ain’t snow.

Both parties are looking to move on, so don’t drag it out.

2. Work with HR on offboarding schedule

In mid to large-size businesses, you likely have some established HR practice. In those cases, there’s a procedure for how the exiting employee will be offboarded (exit interview, when access will be shut off, when the final sleeve of oreos in the snack cupboard will be sent, etc).

Work with HR to understand the schedule so you know when everything should be wrapped up. Forward this along to your departing teammate as soon as possible so they’re not left in limbo.

3. Give the exiting employee the details on communication and schedule

They are as interested as you in how to go about leaving your organization, so be sure to communicate the decisions of:

  1. Their final day
  2. What you will work with them on during that time
John Hartley

Engineering leader with a passion for building and growing teams. Writing about leadership and management in the tech industry. Director of Eng @ Curology