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Walked Out or Not?

Walked Out or Not?

Ready to resign? Will you be Walked Out or Not? Which one works best for you and for your employer?

You’ve got a new job and you give notice. Does your Employer counter-offer, accept your notice terms or walk you out the same day? I’m a professional Recruiter and I see all of them, with mixed results.

Should the Employer make a counter-offer? Is the Employee expecting one? Counter-offers usually mean upping the salary ante…and I think this is both unproductive and insulting to the employee. Yes, I know – everyone likes to feel valued and more money helps – but whatever the reason for giving notice – it’s probably still there even with more money. The question I ask is – if the Employee deserved more money – why not pay that raise before they gave notice? It seems to me the Employee might be left with an edge of bitterness despite the raise. It’s as if the Employer is saying the only way to get paid what you’re worth is to tell them you are moving on.

Should the Employer accept the notice and let the Employee work out the notice period? Most of us want to work out our notice and get leave our work completely organized don’t we? But is working out your notice the best option for everyone? Is it best for you, your Employer and your co-workers?

Your Employer is probably disappointed to lose you and frustrated by the disruption and at the need to replace you. Your co-workers are likely sad to see you go and wondering just how good is your new job? They’re also thinking – “hey – maybe I should look around too if you are leaving”! It’s only natural you are excited about moving on to “bigger and better” and your heart probably isn’t really focused on the job you’re leaving.

Your co-workers are intrigued and ask you questions like “why are you leaving?” and “Is it really a better job?”. And of course you’ll tell them it’s a step up or better pay and better benefits and you’re really happy you got it. So what are the chances your co-workers are thinking, “what about me?” “Maybe I should get a better one too!” Or maybe you’re leaving because you are unhappy about your paycheck, the workload, or a supervisor, or the way work is distributed among your team. You’ll feel free to openly discuss all this with your co-workers now you are leaving. And they will think you are probably right!

Employers and Recruiters see it happen all the time. One person leaves and it triggers another two or three new resignations.

So how should resignations be handled? I have watched resignation patterning for twenty-five years. I’ve see-sawed back and forth, and here’s what I think should happen for everyone’s best long-term results. There are of course exceptions but…

When an Employee resigns, this Recruiters Two Cents says the Employee should be walked out the door. Before you start throwing stones, here’s what I’d like to see happen before that! In my ideal word, the day after you resign, your Employer conducts an open exit interview and listens carefully, making note of your suggestions. I hope an Employee would speak with respect, but articulate any suggestions they have for improvement, such as a market salary review, an improvement in work flow or more opportunity for in-house growth or promotion. I’d like the Employer to have pre-prepared a paycheck that includes any salary/holiday time owed, plus payment in lieu of working out notice, and a letter of reference ready for this meeting.

Any discussions about the payment amounts owed could/should be completely resolved during this meeting. I’d like to hear the Employer show appreciation for the contribution the Employee has made during their employment, tell the Employee they regret their decision to leave and finally to wish them luck in their new position. The Employee can thank the Employer for their consideration and best wishes, and the Employer can send out an inter-office memo letting staff know of your decision to leave in which they express their regret and wish you every success in your career.

And that’s it – a clean break. This way, everyone saves “face”.

Why? I always suggest Candidates I place to prepare and be prepared for a walk-out and not to take it personally. It’s about an Employer guarding their turf – and being mindful of their Brand out there in the market. It’s important to them you can say you were treated well when you left. The most powerful reference a Company can have is one that comes from a past or present employee. Rarely does an Employer think you are running off with trade secrets, but they do know by the time you’ve accepted a new job you are happy and excited about going somewhere else, and it’s naturally going to cause some waves in the employees who are stay. You’ll cause minimal influence on other employees, likely be able to start your new job sooner, or have several weeks time off to rest up and prepare for a new role.

It’s true Employers will be “inconvenienced” by immediately losing an employee who gives notice. But in my view, the larger picture needs to be considered. Cultivating their market brand image and retaining the confidence of their current employees seems to me is a fair trade for the inconvenience caused by losing an employee.

Retaining valued Employees trumps two or three weeks work in my book any day. Every unhappy employee who leaves an Employer’s employ can cause irreparable damage to the Employer’s reputation and is reflected in every new hire search. People talk to each other, and people in similar roles in a market talk to each other even more.

What do you think? Agree or Disagree? Let me know on my LinkedIn – see Freyja White at Coastline Insurance Personnel or at I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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