Managing your resignation
Handing in your notice is never an easy task and one that you hopefully don’t have to practice very often. It is important that you get this right so you can leave in a way that benefits both yourself and the company you are departing from. Below, we look at how to hand in your notice, what to include in your resignation letter, some things you definitely shouldn’t do, and what you should do if you are faced with a counter-offer.
How to hand in your notice
- Write a resignation letter (see below) and then hand it to your line manager in person. Do this in private. If for whatever reason you can’t meet your manager face-to-face, then a phone-call is more personable than an email.
- Ask colleagues to stay in touch. It’s always useful to keep in contact with people to maintain your professional network.
- Remain positive and resist criticism. References are valuable and nothing will be gained at this stage by being negative.
- Be prepared to discuss and agree handover arrangements with your line manager.
- By remaining professional, positive and helpful in the resignation process, you will potentially open up the opportunity to re-join the same company at a later date (if you want to!). Even if your manager or colleagues move to different companies, you will have left a good impression on them too.
How to write a letter of resignation
- Keep it short and formal. You can go onto detail and give reasons if you want to, but in the majority of cases it is better not to and just state the facts of your resignation. Most companies conduct exit interviews and will ask the reasons for your resignation so this will be your chance to provide feedback if you wish (although consider focusing on the positives about what you are going on to do, as opposed to the negatives of what you are leaving behind).
- State the dates clearly. Make it very clear the date you handed in your notice, and what your last date of employment would be as per your contractual obligations.
- Ask whether there are any actions they require of you whilst in the notice period.
- Thank them for your employment and wish them success for the future.
Things you shouldn’t do
- Burn your bridges with colleagues or managers. Even if you didn’t get on with someone whilst at work, now isn’t the time to vent.
- Speak negatively about the company. Don’t start to criticise the company you are leaving to friends or colleagues, and definitely not on social media. Always remain positive and keep your mind on starting your new position.
- Refuse to work your notice period. This is unprofessional and can put strain on your line manager, and would show in any future references. If you need to negotiate your notice period you should ask, but always be prepared for them to refuse due to business needs.
How to deal with counter-offers
- Ask yourself why you have not been offered an increase in salary (or whatever your counter-offer is) before having to hand your notice in. Have you suddenly become a more valuable employee just because you are resigning, or does your manager just not want to deal with the disruption a departing employee creates? If you accept a counter-offer and the dust settles, consider what the changed relationship with your line manager may look like. For example, could you be expected to do more overtime now your salary has increased?
- Always keep in mind your original reasons. If the factors you are leaving for could be easily changed, wouldn’t you have taken steps to change these already? If you wanted more pay, wouldn’t you have already asked for a payrise? If your commute was too long and is affecting your work-life balance, wouldn’t you have already asked for some work-from-home days?