Leadership Isn't What You Read In Books....
You Honor 9/11 By Rising Above the Crap....

When to Allow Someone to Resign Instead of Firing Them....

Allowing resignations is on my mind based on news out of Atlanta this weekend, where the owner of the Atlanta Hawks (pro hoops) has agreed to sale the team based on the results of an investigation that showed he had made a bunch of race-based comments related to increasing attendance at Hawks games.

What's interesting to me about this was that Levenson was allowed to proactively announce his decision rather than dig in and face the rath of the NBA in the aftermath of everything that happened to remove Donald Sterling from owning the Los Angeles Clippers.

Which to me, begs a question - when do you allow someone in your company to resign rather than firing them? I think there are a couple of situations where it's probably always in your interest from an Employee Relations perspective to allow the resignation rather than firing, including:

1. When you can prevent highly likely 3rd party action that's going to cost you thousands or tens of thousands to defend, no matter how frivolous.  

2. When your organization will react negatively to the person in question being fired, and it's a better PR move to allow the resignation.  

3. When you think you know the deal and they know you know the deal, but you don't want to rip up a team with a gut-wrenching, turn everyone-against-everyone investigation led by - of course - you.

4. When in the back of your mind you know the person in question really never had a chance based on a mix of business conditions, internal politics and personalities.

What did I miss?  Without question, you have to fire people.  A lot of times that's good for the organization to see, but at times, you really need to think through whether it might be better to allow certain individuals to resign.

Asking for a resignation is part complete honesty, part negotiation and part bully activity.  It's an art.  Allowing people to resign when they need to go should be the exception rather than the rule, but it's a tool in your arsenel that needs to be used.

Comments

Rwebb_apqc

KD,

Related to #3, kind of. I think it may be the better route when you have someone that is a long-term employee, but the world has just grown up around them. Their skills are prehistoric by the standards of the rest of the team, the team knows it, and the employee has just realized it.

The bar has been raised and they aren't going to be able to meet the standards of their job. There isn't any investigation that will tear everyone apart, but a termination will have an impact on the team, for sure.

MTCW, at least.

Mark @ Human Resource Management

Asking for resignation or firing both results in employee's wrath. Still i think asking for resignation can work positively in some scenarios. No employee wants to have a firing record in their career profile so they might agree with resignation.

Gladys Misigo

Asking an employee to resign is more honorable than firing him or her.Firing will obviously spoil ones career.

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