MYTH: A manager should be transparent in providing the reason behind the sudden exit of a coworker.
FACT: There could be some sensitive information involved and so it cannot be provided.
Employees get suspicious when one of their colleagues suddenly quits his job. They expect their manager to be transparent in providing the reason behind the exit and believe that the team should have been informed well in advance.
This is a genuine grouse, but a good manager cannot be explicit with information if the exit has taken place under abnormal circumstances. It is important for the manager and the human resources department to maintain confidentiality when an employee is asked to go due to some unethical practices. Other reasons why people are peremptorily asked to leave involve poor performance; or an employee having a personal reason—one that he does not want to divulge; or it could even be a legal matter where the employee’s further stay in the company is undesirable. In some cases, an employee wants to keep his future plans secret, and so might ask the manager to announce the exit on his very last day at the office.
When employees come to know of such sudden exits, they usually believe that the organization is not being transparent; but they should also understand and appreciate the fact that observing confidentiality on certain matters is a healthy practice. As far as managers are concerned, they should share whatever they can and, if it is appropriate, be transparent about the fact that there are things they cannot share.
In some cases, an exit is not pleasant, and the employee, furious with the manager, sends a mass e-mail that makes others wonder about the real reasons behind his departure. To avoid such situations, the manager should seek HR’s help on the content of the communication to pre-empt or to negate a bad impression created by a_ few employees. It is important for the employee and the manager to follow company policies and to be professional about how they communicate and deal with the matter.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? You can ask your manager about the reason behind the exit of your colleague, but if the manager is does not provide a specific reason or ignore’ the question, then do respect your manager’s judgment. You should be happy that your manager is maintaining confidentiality because it might be you asking for a similar thing in the future.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE MANAGER? You have done the right thing in maintaining the confidentiality of the information so that it will not have a negative impact upon the outgoing employee. On being pestered by team members about the reasons for a sudden exit, you can simply say that, as per the employee’s request and company policy, you will not discuss this resignation.