Resigning from your job ? Exit Strategy

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jobseekers put most of their efforts into finding a new job – choosing career direction, writing a CV, job search strategies and interview preparation. Very few jobseekers put any though into resignation or job exit strategies. Leaving a company is a stressful event and jobseekers should put some thought into it to ensure that it goes smoothly and that things end as positive as possible. I have experienced great employer-employee relationships ruined through mishandled resignations and I have experienced other scenarios where things turned nasty. Below are a few key points to help you with a successful resignation.

If you are leaving – then leave – It is important that you avoid playing games with your employer. Some jobseekers use resignation as a strategy to improve salary & conditions. I generally advise jobseekers to avoid this. If you are unhappy with something in work – salary, terms or other staff it is important to address this with the company. If your employer cannot find a desirable solution then you have a choice to make - accept the decision or leave. As pointed out don’t use threats to get what you want and if you follow this strategy be prepared to go through with it. Equally employers can make all kinds of promises – beware!! (See counter-offers)

Verbal with Written resignation – Many jobseekers give a verbal resignation but I advise to back this up with a written document with a copy for the relevant parties like managers and HR. I have often witnessed situations where managers don’t accept a verbal resignation as they desperately try to convince you to stay. Written notice is formal and stronger than a verbal resignation. Ideally do both as a written resignation on its own is a bit cold.

Keep you reasons for leaving simple – I am inclined to advise jobseekers to keep things simple. The reason I do this is when you start outlining the real reasons for leaving it provides your employer with ammunition to try to stay. I learned this lesson myself early in my career. Something basic like "seeking a new challenge" will do. Another point is that you should resist the temptation to have a go at the employer or your manager. If you have issues with the company leave them with the company. Emotions can run high during resignations and employers can get a bit nasty. Hold your head up high and ignore any comments. Stick to your story and don’t get sucked into any arguments.

Finally ignore counter-offers Once you hand in your notice you have suddenly created a big problem for your employer. Suddenly pay increases, extra responsibilities or holidays are freely available. Employers will try any trick to get you to change your mind and quite often managers see this as some sort of game. Let’s keep this simple – DO NOT STAY FOR A COUNTER-OFFER. I have only ever heard of one positive story of a jobseeker staying for a counter-offer and things working out. Research has shown that 80% of employees who stay for a counter-offer leave within 6-9 months.

Paul Mullan is Director of Measurability offering career coaching solutions for jobseekers.

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