Congratulations on your new opportunity. Changing position and company is a big but exiting step that allows you to grow personally and professionally. This section will share with you some preparations, suggestions and thoughts to help make this a seamless transition but also leave a good impression with your current company. You never know if your paths may cross down the road, so you’d want to keep those paths intact.
First, remember there are two types of resignations – the written and the verbal resignation. As a recruiter we can certainly provide some sample resignation letters or a quick internet search will provide you with plenty of options. Quite simply, a resignation letter should contain basic and straightforward information. Your name, the date, the person to whom you are resigning, a brief notice of termination of employment, the date when this is effective from and finally your signature.
If you are leaving on good terms and feel you want to say a little bit more, make sure you only emphasise the positive. Perhaps thank your boss or the company for the opportunities given to you, but there should never be negative information, parting complains or constructive criticism. You’re simply asking your leader to value the decision you’ve reached and not try to discourage you from taking the next step.
The written resignation is relatively straightforward so let’s move on to the in-person resignation meeting. There are two pieces to this in-person resignation. The emotional piece and the tactical piece and it’s important to be prepared for both. No matter how ready you are to leave your current company, over time you build relationships with your current colleagues and it’s important to be prepared for how it’s going to feel when you move on to a better opportunity. Think through who you are going to hand the resignation letter to and how you think they are going to respond. Think through how your team is going to respond to your choice of leaving and if there is anyone in your department that is going to have a particularly hard time with your decision. Talk with your recruiter about how you can be best prepared for that reaction, those conversations and feelings.
Let’s move on to the tactical part and start with what you should expect during your resignation conversation. First, expect that you will be asked to share more information. This could be information about the company you are going to work for, what position they offered you, what you will be working on, how much they offered you, when do you start, why did you choose that company, who you’re going to report to and so on. Think about what you want to share in this meeting, work out what you are going to say and then stick to it. If you are pressed to provide more information know how you are going to politely tell them that you would prefer not to share any of the specifics or discuss this further because your decision has been made and you would like to ask that they honoured that decision. Don’t be rude, don’t be evasive but simply have a prepared response to deliver if you are pushed for more details about your future opportunity and organisation. Let them know that you simply want to wrap up the activities as directed and start at the new company as soon as possible.
Second, expect that you will get a reaction. Your employer will of course have a reaction of some sort. Know that about 10 seconds after they process what you are telling them, the check list of all the things that they will have to do to backfill your positions will start to rattle through their brain. The reaction you see is likely to be a blend of a lot of different emotions in one.
Third, expect that it can be a nervous and emotional moment. It’s a tough process to go through and its ok to feel fear of the unknown and fear of change. It’s also normal and human instinct to want to go back to the safe circle where everything is familiar, but that safe circle is a circle lacking in opportunity and growth, which is why you were open to alternative opportunities in the first place.
Fourth, expect to receive a counteroffer. There are many things to think through with counteroffers and while the decision is always yours as how to handle the extension of the counteroffer, it needs to be an educated decision. The first type of counteroffer that exists is the financial counteroffer. While you are resigning and talking about how much you hope they respect your decision, your boss is thinking about the personal consequences. How they will backfill this position, will others follow, how much time and money will it cost to find a replacement, how will this reflect upon them as a leader? The quickest and easiest way to salvage the situation, i.e., to make you stay, is money. And the question that will be asked is how much are they paying you? If you share this information with your employer, it’s almost a guarantee that they will match or exceeded the offer. If you don’t want to stay in the company, we would suggest not sharing the offer. If your current employer exceeds the offer and you still turn it down it can create irritation. Quite simply put, it will be less uncomfortable for you if you don’t disclose your offer.
The emotional counteroffer can be even more difficult than the financial. It can sound something like this. “I am so surprised, I thought you were happy here, how could you leave your team right now, they are relying on you, I just had you and your partner over for dinner recently, I would never have thought you would do this, the project you are working on is going to crumbled and so on.” This can be though to hear because you’ve built relationships with these individuals. And there is never ever going to be a good time to leave, if there was and you are sitting around doing nothing you probably will be let go anyways. You’ve seen other people resigning in the past and surprisingly enough, that position was filled rather quickly. You need to focus on what’s best for your career, as the company will focus on their profit and what’s best for them.
Your boss is paid to solve problems and hiring your replacement is part of their job description and it doesn’t mean that the emotional connection you made with people aren’t important, it just means they shouldn’t govern the direction of your career. If you’d like to explore this further, we encourage you to search the internet about counteroffers. Again, the decision is ultimately yours to make but make sure it’s an educated one. You’ll find that there are some very common reasons that are well known and valid as it relates to the downside of accepting the counteroffer.
Finally, lets discuss quickly what to avoid during the resignation. These are just as important as what to do.
1. Avoid venting or discussing what should have been or could have been or threating to take others with you or compete against the firm. No matter how horrible your previous situation was, you are leaving for a better opportunity and that’s what’s important.
2. Avoid reacting to an overreaction. Keep your interaction professional even if your counterpart chooses not to. You never know when you cross paths with your former employers so keep your emotions in check even if it’s difficult.
3. Avoid deleting your entire computer. Remove personal files, delete unnecessary emails but don’t destroy work that will help others. Take with you what you need and leave what they need, so the team can pick up where you left off.
4. Avoid slacking off during your final days. How you continue to conduct yourself will be how you are remembered. Do you want to be remembered for bringing down the moral of the team or talking down to the rest of the peers? Work hard through your last day.
These are just a few suggestions to help make this a seamless transition. Your recruiter will share much more information with you to help you navigate through this process. Again, congratulations to this new chapter in your professional development.