Employee departures may elicit a mix of emotions. At times, the departure is a celebratory occasion, like a retirement. Other times, a departure may weaken morale, such as layoffs due to economic conditions. The unfortunate reality is that turnover is unavoidable, and it’s best to learn how to announce departures of any nature. Employers should work to be transparent about workforce changes when they happen so employees know what to expect and how to handle transitions. In this article, we cover the essential elements to include and some to avoid when writing an employee departure announcement.
Tip 1: Don’t Avoid the Topic
Brushing things under the rug doesn’t get rid of the issue. It may seem well-intended to avoid sharing negative news, but this does more harm than good. If an employee stops showing up to work, employees will speculate. Without the facts, employees may partake in gossip, which can hurt morale and damage trust in the company.
Instead, inform those who worked with or relied on the departing employee of their departure as soon as possible. Being transparent builds employee trust and helps them feel more valued and included. It also prevents the spread of misinformation; employees will hear the facts instead of creating their own stories and misinterpretations. Additionally, remote workers likely rely on the company to communicate workforce changes since they have less opportunity to notice them in a shared workplace.
Some may avoid sharing news about employee departures if the company’s turnover rate is high. Noticeable patterns of employee departures may initiate a ripple effect, causing more employees to choose to resign. But the announcement itself isn’t the issue. The root problem is the turnover trends within the company. Be sure to conduct exit interviews to find out why employees are leaving. This way, you can address the problems and improve retention in the future.
Tip 2: Keep It Professional
No matter the reason for the employee leaving, a written employee departure announcement is still a formal business document. To protect the company and the employee, ensure your written document:
- Opens with the reason for the announcement;
- Is concise, including only factual and relevant information, not speculation;
- Omits the reason for the departure (unless the employee has consented to sharing positive news);
- Complies with company privacy and confidentiality policies; and
- Includes the full name of the employee and their departure date.
Tip 3: Communicate New Workflows
Someone somewhere will have to pick up the employee’s workload. Until someone else is hired to replace the employee or a new process is implemented to cover an eliminated position, create and communicate a transition plan. Anyone who works with or relies on the departing employee should be informed of:
- Whom to report to or contact for support that the employee previously helped with;
- Where to send information and work that previously went to the employee; and
- Whether these changes will be temporary or permanent if this is known.
Tip 4: Keep It Positive
How you deliver the employee departure announcement can help or hurt morale. Even if the employee leaves on the worst of terms, try to keep maintain a sense of positivity and optimism:
- Thank the employee for their contributions and service to the company;
- Encourage others to appreciate the employee’s service and achievements;
- Assure staff that they will be supported throughout the transition;
- Invite staff to a farewell event if applicable (in cases where the employee voluntarily resigned and agreed to the event); and
- End the letter on a positive note about the future of the company.
Tip 5: Plug Your Referral Program
An employee departure announcement is a great time to remind employees about your referral program—if you have one—and get a head start on recruitment. By mentioning the need to recruit for the vacant position in your employee departure announcement, internal applicants can submit their applications early, and you can build your external talent pool through referrals before even posting the job ad.
Sample Employee Departure Announcement Letters
How you announce an employee leaving and the information you include depends on the cause of the departure and the employee’s history at the company. The goal of an employee departure announcement is to celebrate an employee’s achievements and appreciate their contributions to the company while being sensitive to the reason they are leaving.
Sample Letter: Retirement
The following is a sample letter you can use to announce the retirement of an employee:
After (X) years of service with (insert company name), (insert employee full name) is retiring as of (insert date).
(Insert employee first name) has contributed as (insert appropriate positions or titles) and has been primarily responsible for (insert primary job functions, achievements, or significant contributions to the organization).
Please join me in thanking (insert employee first name) for their loyal and dedicated service. We wish them all the best in their well-earned retirement.
Employees are invited to join us at (insert location) on (insert date) at (insert time) for a retirement celebration in recognition of (insert employee first name)’s service with the company. The event will also be virtual for those who cannot attend in person.
Sample Letter: Resignation
The following is a sample letter you can use to announce the departure of an employee who has resigned:
After a (X)-year career with (insert company name), (insert employee full name) is resigning as of (insert date).
(Insert employee first name) began their career with us in (insert year), and over the past (X) years has contributed as (insert appropriate positions or titles, or forms of contribution: for example, hard work, and so on), and has been primarily responsible for (insert primary job functions or significant contribution to organization).
Please join me in thanking (insert employee first name) for their many years of loyal and dedicated service to (insert company name). We wish them all the best in their future endeavours.
Sample Letter: Termination
The following is a sample letter you can use to announce the departure of an employee who has been terminated:
Please be advised that as of (insert date of termination), (insert employee full name) is no longer with (insert company name).
Employees should not communicate any further with them regarding matters that are confidential or proprietary to our company.
(Insert employee first name)’s responsibilities have been assumed by (insert employee full name, title). Please contact them if you have any questions.
We wish to thank (insert employee first name) for their service and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.
Whether it’s a termination or a voluntary resignation, writing an employee departure announcement can be a delicate balance of formality and sensitivity. If you need a second set of eyes before clicking “send,” get our expert opinion, and we’ll walk you through the offboarding process.