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It is important to take the time to create a positive and honoring experience for an employee as they leave your team.

Respectful Exits

The resignation notice period is the last chance to make a positive impression about you, your department/unit and Cornell. This last experience may make the difference in whether an employee will be a promoter or detractor for others considering joining Cornell. It may also help keep the door open for Cornell to re-hire the employee in the future.

The following are some tips to help create a respectful exit experience:

  • Ask the employee to share what they would recommend changing about the position for the next incumbent and what could have made it better for them.

  • Discuss celebration ideas (going away party, etc.).

  • If appropriate, send out a note announcing their departure and acknowledge their accomplishments while at Cornell.
       Ask the employee to review it prior to sending it out.

  • Request any final feedback about you as their manager, the department/unit, or their colleagues.
       Listen and ask questions, but do not become defensive as it is their experience.

  • Thank them for any feedback they provide.

  • Be sure to say “goodbye” to the employee on their final day with Cornell. Stop by if you are in person or connect virtually with them if either you or they are working remotely.

  • For staff who voluntarily resign, encourage them to complete the university exit survey which will be automatically sent to their Cornell email.

Information pulled from Respectful Exits: Action Steps for Managers (PDF).

Layoffs and Early Terminations

Review the Managers Guide to Preparing for a Layoff Notification (pdf). Importantly, as a people leader you should:

  • Consult with your HR Representative
  • Review the Layoff Policy. One of the best ways to reduce legal risk is knowledge of and adherence to relevant policies
  • Obtain a layoff packet and notification letter from HR to give to the impacted individual(s) and review in advance of the meeting
  • Understand the reason for the layoff/early termination and selection criteria

Addressing the Needs Remaining Employees

People leaders should:

  • Make clear how remaining work will be handled/reorganized to account for the reduction in force
  • Consult with FSAP about their own concerns/challenges and those of the remaining employees related to the layoffs
  • Help employees feel a sense of control over their lives by exploring flexible work arrangements
  • Model and stress to remaining employees the need to take care of themselves