If your small business depends on building relationships with your clients, losing an employee can have a drastic impact on your ongoing success—as strong relationships are key to fostering loyalty and improving client retention.
So when a member of your staff moves on after spending weeks, months, or even years building rapport and earning trust, clients need time to transition—and to understand that their relationship with your business will continue normally.
But how do you let your clients know when an employee leaves your company—and that you'll still continue to give them the high level of service they've come to expect?
One great option is to write an employee departure letter, which is a formal document that lets a client know your employee is moving on.
Let's look at what a sample letter announcing an employee's departure looks like, why you should write a departure letter, and what to include in (and exclude from) it.
Sample Letters for Announcing Employee Departure to Clients
An employee leaving announcement can be either formal or informal, depending on the relationship you and the rest of your team have with your clients.
Use these sample announcement templates to notify your clients that an employee has been terminated, is moving on to new opportunities or submitted a resignation letter.
Departure Announcement for Employee Resignation
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Subject: Some bittersweet news—Kate is moving on
I have the bittersweet responsibility to let you know that Kate Jones will be departing the agency effective September 4.
Though we're sad to see Kate go, I'm sure you'll join us in cheering her on as she pursues her dream of owning and operating a bakery in her native home of Vermont.
To ensure a smooth transition after Kate moves on, we have assigned Paul Brown to your account.
Paul has been a licensed insurance agent for 15 years and specializes in commercial insurance, so I'm confident he'll be able to work with you and ensure you have the right insurance coverage.
He is also working closely with Kate to ensure he's up to speed with your needs by Kate's last day. Paul can be contacted at 123-555-7161 or by email at email@example.com.
We'll host a going away party for Kate on September 2 at XYZ Bar & Grill and invite you and your team to attend. I'm sure Kate would love the opportunity to say goodbye to you after all your years of working together!
As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. I hope to see you at Kate's farewell event!
Departure Announcement for Employee Termination
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Subject: Employee Departure Announcement
Dear Jane Smith,
As you know, ABC Insurance is committed to providing our valued clients with the highest quality services in the community.
That is why I am writing to inform you that, effective today, your account representative, Kevin Williams, has been terminated from his employment at ABC Contracting.
We understand that this is inconvenient and want to work with you to ensure there is minimal disruption to your operations.
To avoid any negative impact or delay, we have assigned Harry Rodriguez as your temporary point of contact. Harry has been employed with us for over 10 years and has extensive experience working with firms like yours. He can be contacted via phone at 123-555-1234 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have also made additional staff available to ensure your needs are met during this transition. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns, and thank you for your understanding.
Manager, ABC Insurance, LLC
Should You Tell an Employee's Clients That the Employee Has Departed?
If an employee's termination or departure can impact a client, you should let them know as soon as possible. The reason? Letting a client know that an employee is moving on can:
- Give the client an introduction to the new point of contact: Getting introduced to a new point of contact without prior warning can be jarring, especially if the client has worked with the same representative for a while. Using an employee departure email to introduce a new point of contact can help establish their credentials. That builds trust and helps pave the way for a strong relationship. An intro can also help bring the new rep up to speed with the client's plans and processes. For example, if you run an insurance firm and the agent assigned to a client moves on, introducing a new point of contact as soon as possible can help familiarize them with the client's financial situation and expectations.
- Maintain consistency and professionalism: It's unprofessional to dump a new contact on a client without some form of a heads-up—especially if the client valued their relationship with your previous employee. A surprise change can leave a client wondering what other surprises are in the pipeline (for example, a change in pricing, service quality, or even something as major as your business shutting down).
- Prevent client turnover: A client that loses its point of contact might be tempted to start looking for other vendors—especially if they've had other concerns about working with you. Introducing your client to a new team member allows you to reconnect with them, learn about their concerns, and take action to keep them. For example, after speaking with your client, you might learn that your previous employee was not as responsive as they expected—in which case you could highlight the importance of prompt responses and follow-up to their new point of contact.
How Do You Announce an Employee Is Leaving to Clients?
There are multiple ways you can tell your clients an employee is leaving, including:
- Scheduling a face-to-face meeting or appointment
- Making a phone call
- Sending a postcard
- Writing a letter and sending it via mail or email
In general, the best path is to write a letter to your clients to inform them of an employee resignation announcement or termination.
The reason? A departure letter provides useful and actionable information about your proposed solution and the client's options—and because it's a written document, the client can refer to the letter throughout the transition.
For example, you can offer to schedule a meeting to discuss and develop a transition plan, introduce a team to help the client choose a new point of contact, and let the client know that the employee is no longer authorized to represent your company.
If possible, try to let a client know that an employee plans to leave before they actually do. This can help ensure the process is smooth, with minimal—or, ideally, no—interruption.
What To Include in an Employee Departure Announcement
Now that you know why it's important to send out an employee departure announcement email or letter, what should you include in it?
A Commitment to Quality Service
Start your letter on a positive note with a reminder that your company is committed to providing your clients with high-quality service (which is partly why you're writing this letter in the first place).
Emphasize that the client—and their satisfaction—is a priority before leading into the reason for the letter: that the employee responsible for servicing the client is departing your company. Then, follow up with a promise that you and the rest of your team are available to take over to continue meeting the client's needs.
You might also want to include a note that you and your team plan for the transition to be as smooth and seamless as possible.
Why the Employee Is Leaving
Though you're not required to explain why the employee's moving on, doing so can help calm any of your client's concerns, worries, or fears. But is this legal?
There aren't any federal laws against discussing the reasons an employee left your company. Though some states forbid you from disclosing this information, you're usually allowed to share an employee's reason for leaving if you do so in good faith—in other words, without disparaging the employee or spreading libel or slander.
Still, you might not want to share personal or sensitive information. If an employee left your business to take care of an ill parent, it's probably best to say they left for personal or health reasons. And if the employee was terminated for cause, you might want to avoid sharing the details.
At the same time, if the employee left on friendly terms—and/or had a good relationship with the client—you might want to celebrate their successes to keep the reason for their departure positive and allow the client to share their best wishes. For example, if the employee left for a positive reason, like fulfilling their dream of backpacking through Europe or pursuing their professional passion at another company, it's perfectly okay to wish them well.
This is also a good opportunity to mention their professional achievements, especially if those achievements contributed to the client's success. For example, if the departing employee is an insurance agent who helped the client get workers' comp for their new team members, you could speak to the agent's efforts in helping the client grow.
When the Employee Is Leaving
Announcing the employee's last day is almost as important as letting the client know they're leaving. This gives the client time to prepare for the change, voice any concerns, and ensure that the new point of contact is trained and up to speed.
If the client had an especially close relationship with the employee, feel free to invite them to any farewell event you or your human resources team might be hosting. This can give the client (and your team) the opportunity to wish the employee well with their future endeavors and
celebrate their hard work.
But what if your company is going through layoffs, the departing employee gets fired, or doesn't provide a notice that they're leaving?
In either case, you still need to inform their clients as soon as possible. Not only will the client find out eventually, but letting the client know right away can help avoid potential concerns and issues.
Guidance for the Transition Process
A departure announcement should also include suggestions for a transition process. You should also volunteer to work with the client to maintain consistent support and communication, even after your employee moves on.
This might mean offering to assign an employee to their account temporarily or adding additional coverage as the departing employee's replacement learns the ropes. You might also want to suggest adding a supervisor or manager to the client's account during the transition— especially if you're dealing with a high-value client.
Additionally, you should review the client's expectations or pending projects during this time. This can make sure everyone's on the same page and nothing falls through the cracks, ensuring that the transition to a new account representative is smooth.
An Introduction to the New Team Member
If you have a new account representative or point of contact already chosen and ready, finish the email with an introduction to the new employee handling the account. In it, include the:
- Employee's name
- Employee's department name
- Employee's title or role
- Company email address and phone number
- Credentials, achievements, and other relevant information
This can help both the client and the new representative get familiar with one another—especially if they've never met or worked together before. It also ensures the client has someone to communicate with throughout the transition process.
…And What Not to Include in a Departure Announcement
A departure announcement is a formal document, which means it should be written in a way that's respectful and professional—even if you and your team are comfortable interacting with the client on a casual basis. This means that you should avoid including:
- Anything defamatory about the employee who's leaving
- Personal information the employee wouldn't be comfortable sharing
- Negative personal opinions the employee might have held about the client
- The reason for termination (if applicable)
- A copy of the employee's resignation announcement or other docs
How do you announce an employee leaving in a farewell email?
You can announce that an employee has left or is leaving your small business by writing a formal announcement letter.
This document can be sent to your staff members and the employee's clients via email to notify them that the employee is or will no longer be employed at your company.
How do you announce an employee departure letter?
You should tell your employees that a coworker is leaving by writing and providing a formal document, letter, or email. This can be similar to the one you send to the employee's clients and should include:
- The employee's leave date
- Details about any planned farewell event or goodbye party
- Best wishes for the employee's future endeavors
- Planned changes to the regular workflow (if it's affected by the employee's departure)
- Next steps (such as information about who will fill the empty role or take over the employee's accounts)
- Gratitude for the employee's hard work (if applicable)
How do I notify vendors of employee termination?
After terminating an employee, you can notify vendors by sending an email or letter, making a phone call, or scheduling a meeting.
Announcement of Employee Departure Letter Can Help You Retain Clients
As a small business owner, your staff members are responsible for establishing and nurturing relationships with your clients—the clients and customers that drive revenue.
When an employee quits or leaves your company, their clients might feel abandoned, concerned, or nervous and start looking into other options.
You can—and should!—use a departure notification letter to reiterate your company's commitment to its clients and provide a framework that ensures consistent support throughout the transition period.