Whether you’re feeling sad about moving on, or you’ve been dreaming of handing in your notice for years, it can be surprisingly difficult when the time comes to resign from your current employer. If you’ve just accepted a new role with a different employer and are wondering what to do next, keep reading.
Identify your reasons for wanting to resign
Since there is no going back once you put out your resignation, you need to thoughtfully consider every aspect of your decision. When planning to leave a position, you should identify the specific reasons you’re quitting so that you can confidently approach your employer with a clear, thoughtful explanation.
If you are leaving to pursue other career opportunities, you can explain what you have learned with your employer that will benefit you as you enter a new job. If your reasons for leaving are related to your experience in the current job, you can discuss what you appreciate about the opportunity and clarify what professional needs another position may provide for you to thrive in the workplace.
As you consider why you are leaving, you may identify reasonable opportunities to improve your current position enough to stay, if you are able. If you are leaving to improve your work-life balance, you may be able to discuss altering your schedule or trying remote working options with your supervisor. The most important thing when making these decisions is to prioritise your happiness, job satisfaction and career growth.
Inform your manager before telling your colleagues
You might have great relationships with the people you work with but telling them about your plans to resign before discussing them with your manager is unwise. If your manager overhears the news from a source other than you, they might find it disrespectful, and it definitely won’t make you seem very professional. In order to avoid leaving the company with a damaged reputation, resist the urge to tell your colleagues before telling your manager.
Always resign in person
You can maintain a strong professional relationship by first asking your employer to meet and discuss your resignation in person. Meeting in person is good professional etiquette that allows you to have a productive conversation in which you discuss your reasons for leaving and your plans to help facilitate a smooth transition. If you work remotely, request a private virtual meeting.
If you have a resignation timeline in mind, you can schedule your meeting in advance to give you and your employer enough time to prepare for your absence. Taking time to meet in person also shows that you value your employer’s time and your experience in this position.
Provide the right amount of notice
The standard amount of time that you need to give to your employer is about two weeks. This can vary if you have signed an employment contract with specific terms, but two weeks’ notice is a standard professional courtesy in many workplaces — it allows your employer the time to hire and train your replacement or divide your responsibilities among existing staff.
You may provide a longer transition period if you are able to stay, but shorter notice periods should be reserved for situations in which your new employer needs you to start earlier or other extenuating circumstances that require you to leave before two weeks. If you have a new job opportunity waiting for you, you have the option to let your employer know that your leave date is based on starting a new position, though you are not required to provide that information.
You can give your two weeks’ notice during your in-person resignation meeting with your employer and include your leave date in your official letter of resignation. Using both strategies can demonstrate your dedication to supporting the smoothest transition possible.
Offer to help with a smooth transition
By letting your employer know that you’re willing to help with the process of preparing the company for your departure, you’re showing them that you want to support the organisation’s success, even as you move onto another opportunity. This also allows you to strengthen your professional relationships with your colleagues and show them that you care about their continued success. You could assist in training a new or current employee to handle your responsibilities, complete as many of your current tasks as possible, or even help your manager identify candidates to replace you.
Thank your employer
It is important to express gratitude for the opportunities you have been given during the time you spent in the role. You’ve likely developed new skills and professional connections in the position, both of which you can thank your employer for as you prepare to resign. This position may even be one of the reasons you received a new opportunity.
If you worked closely with certain coworkers, you can also express your gratitude for their help and support during your time with the company through a goodbye note or email. These gestures can solidify your professional connections as you progress through your career.
Give and receive feedback
You can turn your resignation into a positive, constructive experience for both parties by giving and receiving feedback. You can provide feedback on any aspect of your experience within your role, from the office environment to your training, or even your relationships with your colleagues.
It is important that your feedback is specific, constructive and honest. If your resignation is related to the experience you had at the company, you might suggest ways your employer can address and improve those issues. This feedback can help an employer better serve employees and boost retention, which is another valuable contribution you can help provide as you prepare to move into your new role.
Your employer, on the other hand, might provide feedback on topics such as your contribution to the company, your efficiency and productivity, and your attitude at work overall. They may even offer to provide a professional reference to your new employer!
Submit your letter of resignation
Prepare a formal resignation letter so you and your employer have an official record of your resignation. This letter should express your gratitude, identify your official last in-office day and state your willingness to assist with training or preparation for your leave, if applicable. You should provide a printed copy of the letter when you attend your in-person meeting to keep your resignation as professional as possible. You can also email your resignation letter after the meeting if it was conducted virtually.
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