How to handle a situation where an employee is threatening to quit

Alan Price – Chief Operations Officer

September 21 2015

Although the employee is letting you in on her possible intentions, you should be careful not to jump on it and encourage her to resign, or allow her attitude to force you to be negative towards her. This is because, in some situations, encouragement to resign could be seen as a constructive dismissal, which would allow her to make a claim to tribunal if she had sufficient length of service. General negativity and bad attitude can be addressed by having an informal discussion with the employee. If you have an annual appraisal coming soon in the calendar, or have a process of more regular one to one meetings with your staff, then that could present a good opportunity for this discussion. Whilst it may not be something that you particularly want to spend some time on, however, you have identified that the potential result of this employee’s demeanour is a drop in the mood and performance of your other staff – this element is something that you cannot ignore. Ask the employee if there is something specific that is affecting her spirits in the workplace. There may be an underlying reason that you have not considered before, which could be put right quite easily and consequently improve the employee’s mood. You won’t find this out unless you give the employee to opportunity to have her say. It may be that the mere fact that you are spending some time letting her knew that you care about what she has to say is enough to rejuvenate her own morale and stop bringing others down. Communication with employees is key in fostering their feeling of worth as an employee in your organisation and investing some time and effort into carving out routes of communication could prove valuable. It is important that you do not act hastily and use the employee’s grumbles to push her to resign – a brief conversation may well do the trick. For further clarification on this issue, please contact our Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.

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