The period of time between handing your notice in to your employer and actually leaving your job can be quite an uncomfortable time for you and your employer. Change is never easy and navigating this transition can put a strain on your working relationships if not navigated professionally by both the employer and you as the employee.
The attitude and activities that you take on over your final days, weeks, or months actively contribute to the smoothness of your notice period. Here are some top tips for navigating your notice period to make it as smooth and efficient as possible, whilst reducing any strain on professional relationships.
Familiarise yourself with your contract and ensure you are following any terms and conditions surrounding your exit from the business. This may include stipulations around handing over any clients, any businesses you can or cannot work with after leaving the business, and what (if any) work you can use in a personal portfolio. Knowing all of this information will avoid any difficult conversations with senior leadership if you accidentally break contract and will also allow you to challenge any work or requests your employee asks for in your notice period that is out of scope.
Knowing your contract puts you in the best place to work your notice period without any interpersonal issues or difficult meetings.
Conduct your day- to-day activities as normal. It’s easy to become switched off emotionally from your current job when you are excited about starting a new journey elsewhere, but from the perspective of courtesy and professionalism, you should be putting just as much effort into your role as you have done up until this point. If anything, you should be working to ensure you leave your role in a position where it can easily be picked up by someone else.
This means turning up on time, hitting productivity targets, and keeping your attendance up. Work with those around you to support them during your exit. The transition may be challenging for them as well, especially if they will be taking on some of your workload or will be adjusting to a new leader.
Finally, avoid talking negatively about your current business or boasting about your new role / salary. You want to leave a positive impression and don’t want to attract resentment from your colleagues.
As I mentioned above, leaving your role in a position where it can easily be picked up and managed is fundamental and is courteous to your employer. This involves writing a detailed handover which should explain your day-to-day responsibilities, process charts on how things are executed, troubleshooting information, and access information (relevant logins etc.).
If your replacement employee is already in the business, it’s worth running over this document and scheduling in frequent catch ups and training sessions to answer any questions or upskill your replacement. If your replacement has not yet been hired or decided, send daily or weekly updates to your manager to explain your progress and priorities for your handover. Set meetings with them to run through the handover so that they too are in a position to explain any training, processes, and responsibilities. This will make the transition when you formally exit the business as smooth as possible.
Many businesses will invite you to a formal exit interview to discuss your reasons for leaving. This is to help the business address any issues and improve staff retention rates. Whilst it is really important for you to be honest about your experiences, it’s also important to be structured and polite in your conversation, regardless of whether you have had a positive or negative experience.
If you do have negative experiences to bring up, go in with a structured account of when these things happened, any evidence for this, how it made you feel, and what you would have expected instead. This will help the business understand the event and what they can to improve. Try to end on a positive note where possible as this will help future relationships.
On a personal level, it’s great to be able to collect evidence and project summaries and visuals for your own portfolio. This means that when you apply for jobs in the future you can pull on your past experience to demonstrate your skills and abilities.
Ask key colleagues if they would be happy to endorse you or write you a recommendation on LinkedIn to help build your brand and help shape your career. This is why it’s important to carefully manage your interpersonal relationships with colleagues to put you in a position to ask them for a favour.
Unquestionably you should leave a business on a good note. On some occasions, this might not be possible, but in the majority of situations, going out on a high is preferable. Even small factors can have an impact on this. Sending thank you notes and emails to key people in the business, writing recommendations on LinkedIn for those you worked with closely, and taking the time to say your goodbyes in person or via email is a great way to leave a business whilst protecting your reputation and relationships.
Leaving a positive impression is so important because you never know what will happen in the future. You may want to return to the business or may end up working with or for the same colleagues in different businesses. Set yourself up for future success by leaving on a positive note.
Changing jobs is one of the most stressful and biggest transitions you make in your life. Maxwell Bond are on hand to make sure you are equipped to take your next career step.
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