If an employee tells you that they are resigning or intend to resign, the first thing you need to do is find out why.
If the resignation is unexpected, find out why they want to resign. Is there anything you can do to make them change their mind?
Sometimes employees resign because they fall out with someone, eg their line manager. For advice on handling such situations, see resignations in the heat of the moment.
The resignation may be due to family commitments that mean the employee is unable to continue working the same hours for you. Are there changes you can make to working arrangements to accommodate this? See flexible working - the law and best practice.
If the employee is resigning to work for one of your competitors, consider whether it would be worth improving their remuneration/benefits package, working environment or looking into their promotion prospects.
It is also important that you refer to the employment contract, written statement or any other agreement you have with the employee to check what period of notice they are required to give.
If there is nothing on notice periods in any written agreement, the statutory notice period will apply, which, for employees with at least one month's service, is a minimum of one week. For more information, see how to issue the correct periods of notice.