By Anja van den Berg
In today’s disruptive world of work, employees are comfortable to pursue new professional opportunities as they arise. Inevitably that means that – sooner or later – most people will resign from a job.
The problem is that people tend to spend a lot of time preparing for and strategising about the first impression they make, and rarely give much thought to their last ones, says Len Schlesinger, a professor at Harvard Business School.
“Quitting your job for any reason – whether it’s because you’re deeply unhappy or you’re embarking on a new opportunity – requires sensitivity and planning,” says Schlesinger. Here’s how to handle it.
- Prepare a handover document
After a while, the outputs you achieve on a day to day basis seem like second nature. Yet, you will be surprised at how many things you do to contribute to the business’s success. Keep a working document (a live version in Google Docs is ideal) and describe your duties, step by step. Keep it simple and to the point. Add headlines and break your tasks up into paragraphs to facilitate easy reading. Also, if you have used any passwords to log into company programmes and accounts, include them in the document. Don’t forget to disconnect and delink them from your devices when you leave.
- Start delegating tasks to your replacement
Although you should still deliver your best work, you also need to start handing over tasks to your replacement. Have your handover document handy and schedule 30 to 45 minutes per day to brief your replacement on the tasks and duties relevant to each day of the week. Start with minor responsibilities but delegate those tasks that your replacement seems comfortable to take over from you. It’s crucial that you are still available for him/her to advise if he/she needs help.
- Prepare for your exit interview
An exit interview is not the time to vent your frustrations. It’s best to take the exit interview as conscientiously as you would an interview for a new job, says Maggie Mistal, a career consultant and executive coach. “While it may be irresistible to use the meeting to unload, once you’ve made the decision to leave an employer, airing your gripes won’t do you any good. Your time to talk about concerns was while you were employed.” You can, however, air your concerns – in a balanced fashion – and bring them up in a way that is of service to your replacement. By framing your opinions to demonstrate that you’re thinking about what’s best for the company, you’ll have a far greater chance of having a real influence and of being remembered well.
Apart from official requirements, take time out to bolster the professional relationships you have built. Make a list of people you need to thank personally or by writing an email. Spread out your communication over the last two weeks so that you do not miss out in the final days. Prepare a positive farewell speech in case your team gives you a formal send-off party. Leave out the unpleasant memories while you share achievements, contributions by others and stories of your personal growth.
Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2014/12/how-to-quit-your-job-without-burning-bridges
The Economic Times: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/jobs/eight-things-to-do-during-your-notice-period/articleshow/35833639.cms?from=mdr
Michael Page: https://www.michaelpage.co.uk/advice/career-advice/making-your-next-career-move/how-conduct-yourself-during-your-notice-period
East Coast Radio: https://www.ecr.co.za/lifestyle/family/three-things-you-should-be-doing-during-your-notice-period/