What to Do If an Employee Quits in an Epic Fashion
Last week KTVA reporter Charlo Greene left her job during a live TV broadcast and announced her resignation by saying, “F--k it. I quit.”
Greene isn’t the only American worker to quit their job in a ridiculous fashion. According to a May 2014 study by Shoutly, 52 percent of Americans plan to outrageously quit their jobs. Workers across America have thought of epic ways to quit their jobs, including sending a pornographic tweet from an employer’s Twitter account (5 percent), posting a publicly shared video (7 percent) or publishing an open letter online (3 percent).
If an employee epically quits the company, managers should do these five things:
1. Refrain from replying in a tit-for-tat manner.
When an employee quits a job in an outlandish fashion, respond in a professional matter. This prevents more damage being made to the company’s reputation.
For example, if an employee creates a viral video, don’t respond with another video. Marina Shifrin quit her job with a Taiwanese viral-video news company by publishing a YouTube video. After her video went viral, her boss published a video stating that the company was hiring a new employee.
Instead of replying to the employee in a similar fashion, issue a public statement. Confirm in the statement that the employee is indeed no longer with the organization and that the human resources department is investigating the situation. If the employee made any defamatory statements during the epic resignation, the statement can also include rebuttals. Just be sure to stick to the facts rather than sounding emotional and defensive.
2. Call an all-hands meeting to discuss the situation honestly.
Employees are the most important internal stakeholders. They’re also a company’s largest group of brand advocates. This why their questions and concerns should be a top priority.
Hold an all-staff meeting, preparing beforehand a full statement or important points to be addressed This will allow for honest and transparent conversation with employees. During the meeting, welcome and honestly answer all questions raised.
3. Don’t bad-mouth the employee.
Regardless of how outrageous the employee’s resignation was, do not speak poorly of the individual. This will only add to the negative conversation about the employer.
Instead of bad-mouthing the employee, follow protocol for a termination. Since the employee didn’t give two weeks' notice for the resignation, take action to tie up loose ends such as removing login access. Then start the hiring process to find a new replacement.
4. Identify legal issues and prepare to take action.
When an employee publicizes a dramatic resignation, be aware of the legal issues involved. Angry employees who speak badly of their employer to the public can be guilty of libel and expose confidential company information.
As soon as employees announce their resignation, monitor their social-media accounts, emails sent to other employees and videos published. This enables employers to obtain proof and use it as evidence of damage to the company’s reputation in a lawsuit. Once evidence is collected, take it to a lawyer who specializes in employment litigation.
5. Create a crisis-communications plan.
Ideally, employers should have a crisis-communications plan in place when a situation arises. In case an employer isn’t prepared for an epic employee resignation specifically, immediately create a plan.
Pull together a crisis-communications team and designate a company spokesperson. Next, identify the best forms of communication for the company and identify key stakeholders.
Finally create messaging (for communication with employees and for speaking with reporters at press conferences) that is consistent across all targeted publics and media channels.
Have you had an employee dramatically quit a job? How did you address the situation?