35 Announcing Employee Departures


Whether you are running a small business or hold a department managerial position, losing an employee is never an easy task. When an employee departs, your team loses its balance, as if something was missing. Team morale goes down, and others just panic. Replacement seems an obvious route to compensate for the loss, but it is a time and money-consuming process, which you usually do not have available (Hills, 2014).

Do not take it on personal, nor accuse the leaving employee of betrayal or worse. Instead, congratulate him for taking the courage to move on and look for a new opportunity that would make him happier and more satisfied. Be professional and set an example on how to treat employees who have resigned. Your behaviour will most likely be shared among the remaining staff, and you will be judged and valued for your actions (Hills, 2014).

Be prepared when announcing the departure of an employee. Reassign the tasks between the other employees and be the leader that everyone expects. Make sure your subordinates are aware of the job opportunities that have just arisen, and that you value their hard work and have a career plan well-defined for each one of them (Hills, 2014). In the next sections, you will learn more about different methods and their techniques to better deliver the great (bad) news of an employee’s departure. Furthermore, let’s see how the departure of a CEO can impact the whole organization and how we can deal with our employees who are leaving.

Types of Departure Announcement


Delivering bad news to a group or a team of employees can always be a challenging task. Usually, managers are well trained in firing an employee for whatever reason that might happen. However, transmitting the news to the team always impacts productivity and job stability. Some employees might even consider leaving the company because they feel they might be the next ones to lose their jobs (Daley, 2009).

The reasons for announcing an employee’s departure include downsizing, relocating the headquarter, and behaviours and results related to the employee’s performance (Daley, 2009). Daley (2009) discusses four steps to deliver bad news to teams in a human yet effective manner:

  • Ø Deliver the news as soon as it happens. To avoid rumours overgrowing, the manager in charge must assemble the team in a meeting and spread the information just after the employee’s departure is confirmed. The team must feel that the manager controls the situation and will not let that news impact the team’s environment and routine.
  • Ø Body language and knowledge of the words to speak when announcing an employee departure are essential for the team to understand new information and eliminate anxiety and fear of the future. Being compassionate and empathetic with a particular situation demonstrate the firm yet caring pulse the manager must show to hold the team members together.
  • Ø Show the team the big picture. When explaining the bad news, the manager has to illustrate the context of the employee’s departure. Too little information might leave a question mark in the air, while too much information will give a wrong impression of the news about to be delivered. Suppose the manager has any responsibility in the departure. He must clarify his accountability and justify how this situation is aligned with company strategies and long-term financial goals.
  • Ø Always be optimistic for the future. Be prepared for questions that might arise, especially from those most affected by a colleague’s departure. Show optimistic plans and support every employee through hard times that might arise from the bad news (pp. 2-15 paras).

In the example below, the video host describes effective methods to deliver bad news to employees, like announcing an employee’s departure:

Ways to deliver bad news to employees

Daley (2009) concludes by saying that managers who can handle firing employees and delivering bad news efficiently can earn respect from top management while being a leader by example to their subordinates (p. 16 para).


On the other hand, Freedman (2020) affirms that the best way to announce an employee’s departure is through sending an e-mail to the employees involved with the one who is leaving. The manager in charge needs to keep the e-mail short, objective and ensure the fired employee’s tasks are reassigned to the team. Also, the employees should be informed whether a replacement will be hired to refill the position (pp. 2 – 4 para).

The announcement e-mail should be directed exclusively to the team where the former employee used to work, containing information regarding the employee’s name and the date of leaving. Also, a brief explanation of why the employee was fired should be provided, along with the following steps that the team will need to take to avoid productivity falling or overload of work (Freedman, 2020).

The disadvantage of announcing the employee´s departure through an e-mail is that the e-mail solely opens space for second guesses, rumours and negative talking. Sometimes even customers might be involved in gossip, which usually ends in the courtroom  (HRM, 2015).

Protecting employee privacy by sharing the reasons he is leaving is fundamental to keeping his name and company´s history intact among customers and ex-colleagues. This information is only relevant to the department the employee once worked. HR must ensure an open channel with the teams to vocalize any misconduct or negative talks that could harm someone´s else name  (HRM, 2015).

CEO Departure: impacts and solutions

So far, we have reviewed and learned how managers can address the impacts for the team when an employee leaves and how to communicate the fact. Now, imagine if a CEO’s departure is announced, what would the effects on the staff be?

When announcing a CEO’s departure, the HR department must turn itself present in all the organization’s spheres. Show appreciation for the staff, value their contribution to the company and be empathetic to how the situation might be affecting each one are measurements that need to be taken to avoid panic and voluntary turnover (Wilkie, 2017).

Top management should emphasize the positive aspects of the CEO and release a statement with a brief explanation of the reasons the CEO is leaving. Legal counsel must approve the statement to prevent any misunderstandings or disclosure of confidential information. Additionally, a message to enforce optimism and job stability should also be considered, as the staff would probably feel very anxious and nervous about their careers (Wilkie, 2017).

Employee Departure: Celebration or Frustration

Nevertheless, announcing an employee’s departure should not be taken too seriously, as if the company would fall apart when it happens. Often managers feel betrayed and offended when an employee asks to leave as if they invested so many resources as if the employee is refuting these efforts and moving on to another opportunity (SHRM, 2021).

Instead, there is a famous business jargon that says, “you don’t invest in your employees because you are afraid they might eventually leave. What about if you don’t invest in your employees, and they stay”? It reminds us that we need to celebrate our employees’ successes and learn from their failures.

According to Adam Weber, Senior VP or 15Five, a performance management platform based in San Francisco, managers and teams often see the employee’s decision in leaving as a selfish attitude, and the fear of speeding up the recruitment cycle to replace the leaving employee arises in everyone’s minds (SHRM, 2021). That old experience of having the employee contributing to the company’s growth over 10, 15, 20 years is over, as now the Gen Zs and Millenials hardly remain more than 3 years in the same organization (SHRM, 2021).

With continuous feedback and transparent communication between managers and their teams, whenever an opportunity for development and departure arises, it’s time to celebrate the one’s leaving and motivation for the ones staying, with new positions opening (SHRM, 2021).

On top of the impacts the departure of an employee will have on managers, teams and the company itself, there are other departments involved in announcing a departure. IT, for example, must cancel the employee access to the company’s corporate e-mail, intranet and other systems. HR and Payroll must ensure the last paycheck englobes the company’s duties and the employee’s rights, with all the legal aspects a serious organization has to ensure not to suffer lawsuits some time ahead (Herring II, 2013).


Daley, K. (2009, October 16). How to Deliver Bad News to a Group. Harvard Business Review, p. 16 Paragraphs. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2009/10/how-to-deliver-bad-news-to-a-g

Freedman, M. (2020, October 21). How to Announce an Employee Is Leaving. Business News Daily, p. 19 paragraphs. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/15870-email-announcing-employee-leaving.html

Herring II, W. W. (2013, April 25). Issuing Final Payments to Departing Employees. SHRM, p. 22 paragraphs. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/final-payments.aspx

Hills, L. (2014, September 30). Losing a Valued Member of the Medical Practice Team. The Journal of Medical Practice Management : MPM, 30(2). Retrieved July 17, 2021

HRM. (2015, April 14). The potential fallout of disagreeable employee departures. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from Human Resources Director: https://www.hcamag.com/us/news/general/the-potential-fallout-of-disagreeable-employee-departures/156679

Manager, P. (Director). (2019). The Best Ways to Deliver Bad News – Project Management Training [Motion Picture]. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3UUTRBRAoY

SHRM. (2021, May 12). How to Stop Making Employee Exits Uncomfortable. SHRM, p. 13 paragraphs. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from SHRM: https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-news/pages/how-to-stop-making-employee-exits-uncomfortable.aspx

Wilkie, D. (2017, August 14). When the CEO Is Fired: How to Handle Workers’ Angst: Rash of CEO departures raises questions about employee morale and tenure. SHRM, p. 13 paragraphs. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/when-the-ceo-is-fired-how-to-handle-workers-angst.aspx

Writolay. (2021, n.d. n.d.). Employee Resignation Announcement Email – 8 Samples. Retrieved July 16, 2021, from Writolay: https://writolay.com/employee-resignation-announcement-email-samples/







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