As the saying goes, "breaking up is hard to do."
This is true in all kinds of relationships, including business. Ending a relationship is a stressful and painful process -- but unfortunately, it’s often a necessary step in order to improve one’s life. Sometimes, candidates change jobs due to major compatibility issues with their current organizations. However, just as often, candidates are happy in their current roles but have found an opportunity to grow their careers in new and exciting ways with another company. In those cases, resignations can be especially difficult because the candidate must leave behind a team they respect and a job they enjoy. But it’s important to remember one thing despite the challenges that may come along with submitting a resignation: resigning from a job is a one-way process, not a negotiation.
Start Preparing Early
As soon as a candidate picks up a phone call from a recruiter or submits a resume to a hiring manager, they should be thinking about how they would resign. Throughout the process of exploring new opportunities, employees need to mentally prepare themselves for the hard conversations to come. That way, when the time comes to say goodbye to their current company, they will have had weeks or even months to get ready, both emotionally and practically speaking.
Be Ready for "What If's"
When it is time to submit a resignation, candidates should be prepared to face some “what if” questions from their supervisors. Managers who are determined to hang on to top talent might ask, “What if we offer more money? What if we give you more responsibility?” These are attempts to compete with the new offer and convince the employee to stay in their current roles. But the truth is, these counter offers are never a good idea. By this stage, the candidate has committed to a new job with a new company. They have gone over all the details with their family and have decided that the new job is the best choice for everyone, so they should keep their word and stand firm in their commitment to their new role. Furthermore, any ongoing issues that did exist with their current company won’t go away with an increase in salary; money is rarely the primary reason an employee changes jobs.
The candidate might also feel a twinge of “what if?” from their own minds. Changing jobs is one of the most stressful experiences someone can go through, even though it’s a positive experience. Transitions are never easy, but within a matter of weeks in a new job, candidates will find that the sting has worn off and they are settling happily into their new roles.
Show Appreciation - But Be Firm
When leaving a job, there is no need to burn a bridge or damage relationships. Employees should show gratitude and appreciation for their years with the company, but they should also be firm and confident in their commitment to leave. If appropriate, offer to help find and train a replacement, and make sure to tie up as many loose ends as possible so the team can move forward smoothly.
Put It In Writing
Resignations should always be written down, detailing the effective end date of employment and expressing that the decision is final. Below is an example of a resignation letter that is both clear and respectful.
“Dear ______________, I have worked at ______________ since _____ and have enjoyed my work, the personal relationships, and the opportunity to be employed here. After much thought and consideration, I have decided to pursue a new direction for my career. I have accepted a position and am committed to a start date of ______. Please accept this letter as my resignation, effective __________. My family and I are very enthusiastic about my prospects and I have made a firm commitment to the new position. Therefore, I am not open to any type of counter offer or reconsideration. I will work with my replacement in every way possible to ensure that my work is covered effectively during the transition period. Thank you for the opportunity to have worked with _______. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors. Sincerely,"
It’s never easy to resign from a job, especially one where the employee has been very happy. But by being prepared, decisive, firm, and gracious, candidates can ensure that they make the transition from one job to another as smooth as possible for everyone.