Updated: Oct 8, 2020
The most common emotional states I see in people who are about to hand in their notice are:
1. Exhilaration, because they’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.
2. Anxiety, because they know it’s time to move on but are fearful of their employers’ reaction.
Regardless of how you feel about handing in your notice, there are certain steps that you should follow to ensure the process is compliant and relatively pain free.
Be aware of your obligations when resigning:
In your contract of employment, there should be a detailed description of both your own and your employers’ obligations when it comes to serving notice of your intention to leave. Points covered will include:
Your minimum notice period
Your employers right to offer ‘payment in lieu of notice’
Your employers’ policy on handing in notice.
Understanding these obligations will allow you to handle the process correctly, offer the correct amount of notice and understand your employers’ rights.
Write a resignation letter:
This should be brief, to-the-point and positive in tone. It should simply state the following:
That you will be leaving the company
When your final day at work will be
That you will carry out your duties faithfully and diligently until that date
You do not have to provide any reasons for your leaving in this letter. If you’re not sure how to frame it, check out our ‘Notice Letter Template’ in our 'Free Stuff" section for a better idea.
The letter should be dated as the day you meet with you manager /HR and hand it over. This will avoid any disputes as to leaving dates and notice period. Your notice period begins when you officially hand in your notice. Not when your employer decided to process this and confirm your end date.
Set a meeting with the right person:
Find out who you need to tell and book a meeting in their calendar. This is a professional meeting, so don’t just approach someone with this news when they are on their lunch break! Booking the meeting will again help to avoid any dispute over when notice was given.
Be prepared to talk about your reasons for leaving:
There is no obligation on your part to discuss your reasons for leaving. However, in the interests of maintaining good professional relationships it is advisable that you give some insights into your decision in the meeting with your employer. They will no doubt be interested to know why you are leaving.
Needless to say, if the reasons will cause any acrimony or disagreement with your manager, it’s better left simply as a ‘right time to move on and take on a new challenge’ type response. Nothing is gained by ‘home truths’ on your way out the door.
Be prepared for a counteroffer
If you have been a good employee of the business, it is likely that they may wish to make you a new offer in the hope that you change your mind and stay. This won’t always be the case, but it is worth considering how you will respond in this event.
This can be a complex scenario, but we’ve put together a guide to handling a counteroffer, which you can find here.
In short, it is typically the case that the only improvements that can be made to your circumstances by a counteroffer are financial. If you’re leaving purely for more money, this may be acceptable. But, if you are leaving purely for financial reasons, best to just ask your employer for a pay rise, before applying to and interviewing for other roles. It will save yourself and everyone else involved in the process a lot of time and effort.
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