In the fast-paced work environment, unexpected curveballs are common. But when an employee drops the bombshell of a verbal resignation, it can leave even the most seasoned professionals scrambling for a game plan.  

Whether this employee is chasing a new opportunity, grappling with personal challenges, or seeking a fresh start, understanding how to navigate this delicate situation is important.  

Verbal resignations demand immediate and strategic action, so here is everything leaders need to know about how to handle verbal resignations.  

Why might an employee verbally resign?  

There are various reasons why an employee might verbally resign from their current position. Some examples include:  

  • They have taken a new position  
  • They are moving away  
  • Someone in their family passed away  
  • They are changing careers  
  • They want to focus more on their personal life  

An employee may also abruptly resign, stating “I quit!” or walking out in frustration due to: 

  • Issues with other employees 
  • Issues with customers or clients 
  • Not feeling supported by management 
  • Not understanding or not agreeing with company policies and procedures 
  • Concerns about safety issues 

When an employee verbally resigns, emotions are high and there is often something happening in their personal life that needs immediate attention. It is important to be understanding and handle the situation with professionalism.  

Confirm timelines  

Once an employee has verbally resigned, it is important to ask what their timeline looks like. Some employees may want to put in their two-week notice while others may not be planning to go into work the very next day.  

Leaders need to ask when the employee’s intended final working day is in order to document it and make necessary preparations for their departure. This departure date also holds the employee accountable for their verbal resignation and helps them to realize that their decision is being taken seriously.  

Request written confirmation  

If an employee verbally resigns, be sure to request that everything is confirmed in writing. Having the resignation in written form reduces the risk of an employee claiming it was a wrongful termination and it helps fight a potential unemployment claim.   

At Helpside, we provide a resignation form for employers to send to voluntarily resigned employees. This form documents relevant information and clarifies why employees are resigning. If you have any additional questions regarding voluntary resignation, reach out to us at humanresources@helpside.com.  

 Download Voluntary Resignation Form