​Resigning Gracefully 

12 August 2020 Giles Keay

Jean Louis Paulin Aey S2 Y5 Znye Unsplash

​Resigning Gracefully 

It is a part of working life that no one enjoys or looks forward to however, resigning and leaving an employer is something that happens everyday in businesses throughout Australia. On an individual basis, according to the HILDA (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) survey carried out by the University of Melbourne, the number of times that you are likely to have to resign is increasing.At present the average is 3 years 4 months however, current estimates for newer generations entering the workforce is that those in the under 25 bracket are changing every 1 year and 8 months meaning they could potentially have to resign over 30 times in a working career of 50 years. 

With this level of departures from businesses it has never been more important to exit a business correctly as the negative impact of not doing so can be huge.Apart from the obvious need for a reference in the future, the engineering and construction industries are very small and poor behaviour can spoil your future opportunities. During an employment you gain substantial networks both within and outside your employer which can provide extensive opportunity for further career growth including;  New future employment opportunities using relationships formed Potential business opportunities  Client Relationships for future business at your new employers in the future (obviously subject to meeting any post-employment contract restraints) Supplier relationships formed can be utilised in future roles.

So, as you can see there are many reasons that are beneficial to ensure that you leave positively on exit as a poor exit process can affect all these should your reputation be negatively affected.

To ensure you leave confidentially and professionally there are a few tips for you to consider.

  • Be very sure of your decision before giving notice. Wavering and mind changing at this point wastes everyone’s time and makes you look unprofessional. Nobody enjoys this part of the process and it can be emotionally draining for many people. Try to focus on how you’ll feel when you start your new exciting role. 

  • Always write your resignation letter beforehand as verbally outlining your reasons for leaving in a meeting can be difficult whilst feeling under pressure and potentially embarrassed. The letter should be succinct, polite and
    give thanks their help and support while you were employed by them. It should NOT be bitter, angry or make accusations.

  • Review your current employment contract and check the various important points to consider such as notice periods and any specific restraints within the contract. It is important to understand these clearly and you can commit to your employer that you will be meeting these obligations on exit and that your new role does not break any of these clauses.Counter Offers“Resigning Gracefully” is not just about leaving your last employer correctly but also about joining your new one.Once you have accepted a new role it is important that you do not change your mind and reverse your decision.It is far better for you to take longer prior to making your decision.

An acceptance and then withdrawal can cause just a much of an issue for your reputation in the market as a poor resignation. Your current employer will not wish to lose you, it’s much harder (and more expensive) to recruit and re-train new personnel. Counter offers are extremely common and your current employer may entice you to stay with more money or a new position. They may even say this pay increase or new role was already on the cards. This makes them look good and could make you second guess your decision.

At this stage you must ask yourself three questions:

  • Why has it taken to get to this stage for them to offer you this increase in remuneration?

  • Why did they not previously mention this change in role?

Above all, remember your reasons for looking for a move in the first place! As a recruitment business we see that most people who accept a counter offer and stay at an organisation leave within 12 months. The underlying corporate culture is unlikely to change and your reasons for the initial move won’t magically go away.Agree a provisional departure date at the time of resignation. This can be flexible but it’s best to set up a
framework within which everyone can plan. If you hope to leave before your official notice period ends, suggest targets to work towards that would allow for an early release from your contract.In the very unlikely event of the meeting turning sour, retain your professionalism and close the meeting at the earliest opportunity. Your manager may well need time to reflect on your news.

A negative response will certainly strengthen your resolve that you’re doing the right thing. 

Post Resignation

During the notice period and prior to commencement it can be useful for all parties to keep in touch to ensure a positive and seamless start in the new role. If you have concerns over any post-employment obligations from your last employer, make sure you have raised these with the new business to ensure that they are aware and can make sure that no contractual obligations are broken. This can be an extremely stressful process if done incorrectly but if you consider the various steps and make sure that you are handling all parties professionally and ethically leaving the business then it can be a positive experience and one that can assist you into the future.