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What happens after a colleague resigns from a job?

17.08.2022 06:05 AM
What happens after a colleague resigns from a job?
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What happens after a colleague resigns from a job?

Leaving a high-profile worker can put pressure on colleagues who have left them. At worst, this person causes a snowballing effect, inspiring others to say goodbye to their jobs.

This phenomenon is known among researchers as "transformation contagion." But how likely is it that resignations are actually “contagious”? This is hard to verify, says Armin Trost, a psychologist and professor of human resource management at the University of Furtwangenen in Germany.

The expert is skeptical that one team member's decision to resign is the deciding factor for others to follow suit. Instead, Trost attributes the probability of a cascade effect to a third variable.

He says that if working conditions are not good and management is badly behaving, it is not surprising if more than one of the employees decides to leave.

On the other hand, Professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the University of Saarland, Germany

Cornelius Koenig that seeing a prominent worker leave the business can have a powerful impact. "It's important to remember that resentment is not always the reason for moving from one job to another," he says. "It's really one factor. There are also certain situations that can cause something like this."

Transmission infection

One such case, Koenig says, could be that a co-worker left the company. When those who stayed on realize that it would have been easy for their former co-worker to move on, it gives them the confidence to believe that they, too, can find another job.

Transmission from work also depends on the circumstances. According to Koenig, your relationship with the ex-colleague who quit has its role. If you used to work closely together and were especially on good terms, then this colleague's resignation may have a stronger impact on you because it affects you personally.

Conflict management expert Finn Rischke also believes that the social connection between workers plays a major role, and says if there is a strong connection between workers and their work team, the effect of "contagion" may be more noticeable.

Once a team catches a switch, says Koenig, management has to address things, or else a sense of injustice can quickly emerge, with team members under the impression that they will now have to do the work of the colleague who quit.

Measures to prevent leave-of-work infection

According to Rischke, it is at a time like this that the task of the team leader should be to convey a sense of security and reliability. “Changes in people can cause a bit of chaos within the team,” he says, adding that there is a need for managers to make it clear they have a plan.

According to experts, the way the resignation is discussed matters. Koenig says team leaders need to make sure they don't trigger a spiral of negativity, for example by assuring that things were never okay with that person who resigned.

He added that it might lead others to think it was better for them to quit as well.

Koenig says that a team leader who knows his team well, may be able to take measures to prevent the spread of infection leaving work, for example by making sure that the rest at work are taken care of, and stresses that individual conversations can help identify the causes of resentment and find solutions to motivate workers to stay. This makes the team feel supported and appreciated by the employer. "The island"

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