Along with marriage proposals and relationship breakups, the end of year break prompts many to re-assess their career. So this year, will you commit, or have you decided to take the plunge and quit your job?
January is a popular time for people to resign from their current positions and look for a new role; according to a recent study by Crunch Accounting, if you’re going to quit your job, the 31st of January is the most popular time to do it. And it stands to reason. Between making new years’ resolutions and plotting your goals for the year ahead, if you can’t see your current job fitting in with these plans, it’s only natural to start thinking about other roles that could.
Whether you’re personally looking to hand in your notice and quit your job, or manage people who might have their eyes on the door, it’s imperative to execute an exit with grace – and avoid the pitfalls of a new year’s exit. Here, some best practice tips to a successful employment transition.
DO Stay away from social media
More than ever before, we are all our own personal ‘brand’; communicated across our social media platforms as well as the impressions we leave with those we’ve worked with and for in the past. This applies both to individuals and HR professionals who represent the public face of their company. Often, people “try to win the hearts and minds of the general public through Facebook ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ instead of focusing on what they truly want,” explains Cornelia Shipley, a speaker and an executive coach. She says that giving in to the urge to express negative feelings and experiences on social media is one of the most common career mistakes and can come back to haunt you if you encounter former colleagues in a future role – or worse – job interview.
DON’T Burn your bridges
After making the decision to quit your job, it can be tempting to go out in a blaze of glory. It might feel great at the time, but it does absolutely nothing to help you enhance your career in the future.
Don’t commit career suicide by doing any of the following: telling your boss what you really think of them by re-enacting a meltdown scene from the perennial revenge tragedy Falling Down; walking out the door and never coming back, or bragging/ complaining on internal social platforms (see above point).
Now let’s all watch this scene from Jerry Maguire and remember to do the exact opposite.
DO Reflect honestly on your time at the company. But stay respectful.
As mentioned above, it’s in everyone’s best interests to treat people respectfully during a transition, as well as keep communication channels open.
On the part of HR, Priscilla Claman, president of Career Strategies suggests collaborating with your exiting employee on how to best present their departure as a way to create goodwill. “Say, ‘Let’s talk about what you’re going to say and what I’m going to say.’” This approach makes it more likely that you’ll get constructive feedback from their exit interview and have full cooperation when transitioning a new person into the role – particularly if there is a hand-over period.
DON’T Wait until the last minute to inform your boss
If you decide to quit your job, make sure the first thing you do when you return to work is tell your boss. While your mind is probably already set, it’s always worth having an open and honest conversation about precisely why you want to leave. Who knows, there might be another position within the company that suits your career goals. Your manager may even be willing to make some major changes to keep you.
However once your mind is made up, inform your boss as soon as possible. Do this in person then follow up with a formal letter that clearly states that you are leaving and when you are leaving. Employees often forget that a resignation notice is a legal document, so it’s important that HR ensures company policy is followed to a T from the first moment someone tells you they’re quitting, to their last day and beyond.
How HR can help smooth the process
It’s HR’s responsibility to not only hire the right people, but make sure the process of leaving the company goes well. That includes conducting an exit interview that is both valuable to the company (see our article on how to get the most out of an exit interview) and ensuring that the departing individual takes the best possible view of the company out into the world (and to their new office).
Could you benefit from brushing up on your know-how this year?
Hone your professional skills and advance your HR career in the new year, with the 2017 AHRI Training Directory.