Fifty Ways to Leave Your Employer?

Businesswoman Leaving Job vector

What employment resignations are saying about your organization?

In Paul Simon’s 1975 hit song 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, he may be right when it comes to ending a relationships, but it turns out that there are only seven ways to leave your employer (according to research by Anthony C. Klotz, Associate Professor of Management at Oregon State University, and Mark C. Bolino, Professor of Management at University of Oklahoma).


In a recent study the authors identified that there are seven ways or categories of employee resignations:

  1. By the book
  2. Perfunctory
  3. Grateful goodbye
  4. In the loop
  5. Avoidant
  6. Bridge burning
  7. Impulsive

Click here to read the more detailed Harvard Business Review article.

Each of these resignation styles have significantly different meanings in understanding the quality of the employee/employer relationship. It turns out if the employee is using the resignation styles 4-7, the employee is trying to get back at the organization and there are issues with the relationship between the supervisor and the employee.

What does this research mean for new HR professionals? It reinforces the concept of the value of the exit interview. It also expands the concept of an exit interview to include the way employees resigned and the value of this information. It suggests that resignations should be tracked, reviewed and analyzed by the HR department for greater understanding of the deeper workplace relationships issues.


  1. The last time you resigned from a job, which resignation style did you use? Why did you use that style?
  2. Imagine you are an HR professional who is redesigning your organizations supervisory performance evaluation form. After reading this research study by Anthony C. Klotz, and Mark C. Bolino, you feel there is value in adding a new category to the performance review form to track and monitor the types of resignation each supervisor is having every year. Your HR partner does not think this is a good idea. Debate the pros and cons of adding this type of assessment to the formal annual performance review.