Leaving your work nest …The right way
Eureka!! You have managed to get yourself the dream offer. Surely that’s the hard work over and done with right?!
Wrong – The next part is often the most difficult. Now it’s time to hand in your notice for your current role and to try to do it gracefully, without burning bridges and leaving on a bad note.
This can be really tough to do not only because there is a whirlwind of emotions involved, but also a varying degree of other factors such as timing, emotions and even just formulating the paperwork. I have put together some hints and tips that will allow you to make that important final step more comfortable and in some cases far less hostile.
Timing is everything
Before speaking with your Manager, make sure you have read through your employment contract and know exactly what notice period you are on and where you stand legally in regards to annual leave. Some companies will put you on Garden leave (where they pay you to work your notice but don’t have you in the office), others will let you go early if requested and some will want you to work it through to the end. Remember you leaving won’t just leave a gap in work but also creates more work by having to recruit. Therefore if they ask you to work your notice period then it’s best for future relationships to honour that. I am sure it will also show your new employer your strong values.
When should you have the meeting / discussion? Well from the conversations I have with Managers, they often say they prefer when an employee tells them at the start of the day. It shows confidence, consideration, plus lets face it how much work are you really going to get done that day knowing you will be ending it with a difficult conversation? I would argue not a lot at all, as you will be distracted with thoughts of the impending chat. So just get it done! You will feel better and your manager will have the day to digest it rather than potentially giving them a rubbish start to their evening.
Honesty is the best policy
You know why you are looking to leave and why this new role is your dream job, however your manager may not! Make sure, before going to the meeting, you are clear with yourself about why the new role is more suitable for you. It could be the money, location, progression, duties, scope of work, the list goes on…
Always be sure to run through these with your manager but being as tactful as possible so not to make it seem like an attack on your current company. Point out all of the positives of your current role but then follow with the things that make the new one different and slightly more suitable. If it was a head hunt – tell them. If you took days to deliberate as you were unsure if you wanted to leave – tell them. The aim is to cover all off the things you can to make them realise that taking this new opportunity is about career or personal gain and not about you hating your current role. This will go towards protecting their feelings and often shape how the next few days, weeks or months go while you work out your notice.
Don’t get caught up in the emotions
It is possible that you really like your manager; they could be the one you go for beers with on a Friday night or the person you natter with about life’s little problems. It could be that you actually don’t like them at all and they are the reason that you are leaving. Either way it is essential that you don’t let these emotions get in the way of the conversation. Facts over feelings!
When preparing for this meeting it is useful to consider what your manager will say before you go in. I often talk with my candidates, throughout the recruitment process, about what their boss will say in that conversation. By facing up to this early on, it allows you to deal with the emotions this may bring about and makes you less likely to be guilted, dazzled or even manipulated into taking a counter offer. Lets face it, in a candidate driven market most employers are going to try and counter offer good talent. I have seen this more and more recently but don’t forget your reasons for deciding to take the new job in the first place.
Get the writing right
Some people write the resignation letter prior to the meeting and some do it afterwards. My advice is to get it done before. The content of this letter is really about you formally confirming your intention to leave so it goes on record and won’t delay your leave date. The rest of the process of confirming your leave date can come afterwards.
It is always worthwhile printing a signed copy of the letter to give AFTER the meeting and also sending over an emailed version to protect you from ‘lost’ letters. Some would tell you to take the letter to the meeting but that is likely to cause immediate suspicion from those around you in the office and start the conversation off on the wrong foot. Tact is everything! In this situation some employers only want you to announce your resignation once all of the relevant management team have been told and a decision of next steps has been established. The last thing you want to do is leave on a bad foot just because you haven’t done something as simple as show tact.
In summary, I think the key to handing your notice in gracefully is about being honest, sincere and just getting it done. It is never going to be an easy conversation and overthinking it will probably lead to you going through too many scenarios in your mind and scaring yourself, when often many of these won’t actually play out. Do it as soon, quickly and painlessly as possible by knowing how and what to say. However, do not hand in your notice before you have a formal written contract from your new employee. Once notice has been given you can’t take it back without your current employer agreeing.
Hopefully you also have a great recruiter who is supporting you throughout the process and who you can sense check scenarios with and ask for guidance on how best to deal with these. If they have worked with you in partnership then they will know your reasons for taking the new role, know you and know your relationship with your boss. They therefore are in the perfect situation to give distanced advice.
P.S. If you do get “notice jitters” or just think it’s a barrier you can not overcome please call Avi on 0161 212 7308 and of course I am happy to help.