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Resignation: right and wrong

Posted by
02 Dec 2014
One of the most dreaded parts of a job search is the moment that you have to resign from your current employment. Some candidates dread it because they've had such a poor experience during their job that they just want to cut the ties and run; others hesitate because they've had a really positive employment experience and the thought of letting their manager down is upsetting. No matter which side of the fence you fall, there are a number of key points to remember when handing your notice in!

People to think about:

Line manager - When you hand your notice in you must hand it in to your immediate line manager, no matter what your relationship. Don't think of going above their head, taking the cowards route and resigning to HR, sending your resignation via email, and never resign by simply not showing up to work!  Ask for a private meeting, and talk professionally through your reasons for leaving. Don't be derogative of the company, team or indeed the manager themselves. Keep it positive, talk about why you need a new/different challenge and why you feel it's the right time to move on. Be clear and precise. No matter what relationship you have with your manager, it's important to remember that they too might make a move in the future, and you never know when or where your paths will next cross.

Colleagues - Always tell your manager and officially resign before you tell your colleagues, not only is it professional courtesy, but it's also a good way to avoid someone sharing your news with your boss before you're ready! When your resignation has been processed by your employer, and the news has been announced, make sure you bid your colleagues a professional goodbye. Send a short and sweet email to people who aren't physically in your office, but who you've built a network with, it's a great way to offer a thank you and goodbye. Thank your immediate colleagues for their help and support during your time with the business, and arrange a leavers meal/drink after work - as with your line manager you never know where their career will take them in the future.

Company - Make sure you have a think about how they have reacted with previous leavers - were they frog marched out as soon as they resigned, did they successfully work their notice, what were the feelings after they left, was it a positive or negative process and why. Think about how you want to be perceived, and most importantly of all take action to avoid damaging your future reputation - it takes a long time to build a credible reputation, and only a second to destroy it; and remember you will need an employment reference perhaps even as part of your new job offer.

HR - Whether there is a specific HR department, or whether this is managed by individual managers, make sure you follow the formal process. Print an official resignation letter, keep it short and professional, and hand a copy to your manager when you have your resignation meeting. There will likely be an exit interview, and make sure you are honest but professional.
Important processes:

Know your contract: what is your notice period? Are there any restrictive covenants?

Counter offers: Be prepared, know what would change your mind, and what wont, and make sure you are clear with your intentions with your line manager. Don't lead them into thinking you will accept a counter offer that you won't.

Systems: Clear out your personal emails, preferably before you hand your notice in, in case they do ask you to leave the building immediately. Make sure your emails are processed and organised, and be prepared to pull together a clear hand over

Working your notice: Stay committed to the role until the very end. You've worked hard during your employment, don't tarnish this by taking advantage and losing focus during your notice period.
I'd be interested to hear your stories about resignations, either your own or a member of your team; we have all seen examples of bad resignations during our careers, and it's important to remember the impact that this has had on that person's career and reputation.

You can contact Laura on 01332 542580 or leave a comment in the box below.

Tagged In: Careers, Employment, Events
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