Resignations: What are the real reasons?

by Lauren Acurantes19 Sep 2016
A recent study has found that the manner in which an employee resigns is indicative of how they felt they were treated by their direct supervisor.
 
Anthony C. Klotz, associate professor of management at Oregon State University, and Mark C. Bolino, professor of management at University of Oklahoma, conducted a survey on “nearly 300 recently resigned employees, and over 200 managers of employees who had recently resigned” and discovered seven different resignation styles:
  1. By the book
  2. Perfunctory
  3. Grateful goodbye
  4. In the loop
  5. Avoidant
  6. Bridge burning
  7. Impulsive
How a resigning employee chooses one style over another is dependent on how they feel about their direct supervisor. This is because some employees see the resignation as way to get back at their employers, said Klotz and Bolino.
 
“When a company experiences a rash of ugly resignations, rather than blaming those harmful departures on employees’ character, organisations should instead consider the possibility that their employees feel mistreated and explore whether the managers involved need to learn to supervise employees more adeptly,” they said.

Of the seven listed, Klotz and Bolino considered the first four to be on the lighter side of the resignation spectrum.
 
In both ‘by the book’ and ‘perfunctory’, resigning employees hand in their resignation personally and abide by the company’s standard notice period. The difference is in the latter, the individual does not offer a reason for leaving. 
 
A ‘grateful goodbye’ approach focuses on the employee’s gratitude and help is offered during the transition period.
 
An ‘in the loop’ resignation, on the other hand, means that the employee already informed their managers that they were leaving, removing the element of surprise. 
 
‘Avoidant’ employees tell everyone else except their direct superior that they are leaving, while ‘bridge burning’ employees seek to do harm to the organisation, “often through verbal assaults”.
 
The final style, ‘impulsive’, they said, can arguably be described as not being a resignation at all with the employee simply walking away without any notice whatsoever.

Related stories:

A graceful exit – how to quit your HR job
 
Is it ever okay to ask an employee to resign?
 
Employee ultimatums: do they actually mean anything?

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