Resigned to Resigning
Handing in your Notice.
Most people at some stage of their career have sat on the commute to or from work and day-dreamed of handing in their notice with glee and telling their superiors in no uncertain terms to put their job somewhere that it shouldn’t be…. In reality when the times comes tending a resignation is often saddening, nerve-racking and can feel uncomfortable for both parties.
If you are mindful of handling the process appropriately it should smooth the process, reduce the stress and impact on you and your colleagues and ultimately keep the bridge intact.
Firstly – make sure you are committed to your new employer and you actually WANT TO LEAVE your current business. OK this is award-nomination-worthy stating of the obvious but you have to be sure, it can be easy to get caught up in a recruitment process and almost find yourself in a position of accepting a new job excitedly. Don’t force your own hand – you don’t HAVE to leave unless you are absolutely sure that you want a new challenge. Your aim of the resignation process should be leaving the business – if this isn’t your aim then you shouldn’t be resigning!
Keep your decision confidential and communicate it in the first instance to the right person. Amid the exhilaration of securing a fantastic new challenge the need to tell someone will be burning the end of your tongue. Telling Brenda whilst you are making coffee together can seem innocent but believe me Brenda will tell Brian and so it goes….. for your manager hearing third hand of your intention to leave seems unprofessional and disappointing.
Choose the appropriate person to tell formally – typically your Line Manager or their Line Manager makes sense. The operational discussion can be had and they will understand the full context. If you feel less comfortable with this then use your HR function. Storming into the owner of the business guns blazing showing off your wide vocabulary of blue language may seem like the right thing to do but in reality….
Prepare for that meeting – outline your rationale for the move in full and communicate it professionally and with clarity for your manager. It is easy to get tied up in meetings and often the knee jerk response of your management team will be to objection handle and question your decision. Having clearly defined the reasons for the resignation in full will stand you in better stead for a calm and productive exit meeting.
Expect to handle the counter: I seem to remember hearing that 15% of candidates who accept a counter offer contract a tropical disease within 6 months and of course we all know the old statistic that 6% of people who accepted a deadly counter in 2017 spontaneously combusted. Of course Im joking, it was 8%…
This is well trodden ground but while we are here it would be rude not to give a perspective so here is my view on the reality:
1) A counter offer situation is likely to present itself.
2) In the main it is a mistake to accept a counter – the issues that caused your itchy feet seldom disappear.
3) If your reason for leaving is very specific – for example; the travel is too far because you are moving to another place and during your resignation meeting your manager advises the business have just signed a lease and are moving to premises near your new house then provided you can confirm the information then of course you should consider retraction.
4) Interestingly I spoke with a candidate recently who was livid that her employer did NOT present a counter offer. I appreciate that you may feel undervalued if your notice is met with complete understanding and immediate acceptance but please brace yourself for this and certainly don’t feel stung by it – if your resignation is a ham-fisted play for a counter offer then to a large extent you deserve to have your bluff called!
So back in the room – provide a dated, written confirmation of your decision to ensure there is an auditable track record which triggers the commencement of your notice period. Ensure that written dialogue is professional and sensibly written.
Agree your notice period and provisional leave date to ensure there are no misunderstandings downstream.
Now, depending on the calmness, experience and approach of your manager the rest of this day may feel extremely awkward. The message will filter to your colleagues, you may feel more alienated that usual. This is normal – your business will need to react to the news and you should expect to give them this day of grace to absorb and respond sensibly. At the close of the day (if the business haven’t already and if you feel confident enough) you should prompt a second meeting with your Manager the following day to discuss the roadmap to your exit.
Now one of 2 things will likely happen:
1) You will be pushed into the garden.
2) You will need to work your notice in the business.
A couple of quick considerations post resignation meeting:
If you are asked to work your notice at arms-length out of the business be mindful that you are still employed. However tempting; Don’t jet off to another country without express consent! Don’t blast the company on social media!
Try as much as possible to adopt and retain a ‘business as usual’ mantra and approach. If you help smooth the exit and handover and take a confident and amiable stance – even despite those around you if they act differently, it will stand you in better stead for the future.
The period of notice will pass swiftly – the moment of glory of telling your boss to perform an enema with your notice will soon be eroded when you find your references are less detailed and glowing that you may have hoped and your former colleagues can often lose respect built over many years through unprofessional behaviour during your departure. Be mindful that the people around you will be in the business when you leave and despite the gripes you may have shared in confidence they may well respect the business and the management team….
Just my thoughts. If you require recruitment support at any stage please contact our specialist team / me directly.