Employee on his way out: How fast must he leave?

An employee resigns. How long do you want him around? It depends. In most cases, not for long. Usually, the more important the job, the faster you want to get rid of him. Failing to appreciate this point can be costly.
By Raymond Dreyfack November 1, 1998

An employee resigns. How long do you want him around? It depends. In most cases, not for long. Usually, the more important the job, the faster you want to get rid of him. Failing to appreciate this point can be costly.

When Assistant Maintenance Foreman John Griffy gave his boss 2-wk notice, Bill Dorff tried to talk him out of it. No dice. Griffy had been offered a supervisor’s job at a competitor. It was too good of an opportunity to turn down.

“How about making that 30 days’ notice instead of 2 wk?” Dorff asked.

“I don’t know if I can swing it. Let me check.”

“I’d appreciate it. I’ll need time to break in a replacement.”

Question : Do you think it’s a good idea asking for that 2-wk extension?

Marshall’s opinion: Plant Engineer Arthur Marshall didn’t think it was a good idea at all. “In fact,” he told Dorff, “I’d suggest telling Griffy thanks but no thanks for his notice, and then bid him farewell.”

“But — “

“I know,” Marshall interrupted, “it will leave you in a bind. But you’ll recover. In many companies when people resign or are fired, they are asked to leave at once, sometimes escorted to the exit by a security guard. Harsh as this may seem, there’s a good reason for it. The risks of having a terminated employee on hand can be substantial — especially technical, supervisory, or professional people, doubly so when the new employer is a competitor.

“Endless cases could be cited where exiting employees recruit key people away. Also, with personal computers all over the place these days, sensitive data is too easily accessible. Finally, and realistically, once an employee is on his way out, his mind, heart, and sense of responsibility are no longer concentrated on the job.

“My recommendation is that you wish Griffey luck, give him 2-wk severance pay, and offer help to pack his things if he needs it.”