The Perfect Exit Strategy - 20 Things You Shouldn't Forget To Do!

Leaving Your Job

There are mixed emotions when you find a new job. It’s exciting to start at a new workplace but you also have to successfully exit from your current role. You don't want to waste the relationships and connections you’ve made, so here are some practical steps to keep your reputation intact and ensure a smooth exit once you’ve decided to leave.

Plan your exit

  1. Firstly, ensure that you have completed and finalised all hiring details with the new employer before making any moves. Until that new contract is signed, nothing is certain!

  2. You must plan and organize how you are going to transfer your duties in your current job. Don't leave your current boss with any unfinished work or updates. You can prepare a list of recommendations on how all your tasks can be shifted to other employees in the department.

  3. Prepare to write your resignation letter and it should be more of a brief thank you and nothing else. Keep the detail for one-on-one meetings as the letter will be passed to HR and others. Don’t forget to mention your last day on the job in this letter.

  4. Consider thinking about how you will explain your departing move to your manager and colleagues. Whatever you later decide to tell them, make sure it is consistent and filled with positive thoughts.

  5. You can also prepare yourself for any counteroffers that your boss might present to you.

  6. Check your contractually obliged notice period. If you have to leave sooner, create a leaving plan to show your boss how the company won’t be affected by your early exit. You can also extend the notice period if you think that your position is hard to fill. Both of these are subject to negotiation though – so get your explanations and arguments together before any meetings.

  7. Check the rest of your contract for any other terms – are you owed leave? Do you have to pay back fees from a professional body? Will resigning affect your bonus?

Action #1 – tell your boss

  1. Keep in mind to inform your boss before anybody else because they deserve to be the first to know about your move. Make sure that you refrain from telling anyone else first, as gossip travels fast in an office!

  2. Always resign in person and bring the letter with you. If your boss works in a different location, arrange a video or telephone conference.

  3. Depending on timings, you can also offer to train the new hire.

Action #2 – tell the wider business

  1. You can discuss with your boss and reach an agreement about how others will be informed on this. You can make a suggestion to inform all your coworkers at the next team meeting or write a short email for all of them.

  2. Try to meet in person with all your mentors and sponsors within the firm. Even if it’s just a brief chat at their desk, it’s worth the face-time.

Action #3 – go through the motions…

  1. Most corporates have a bureaucratic tick box exercise that you have to follow…exit interviews (mostly conducted by HR to uncover the areas where the firm can improve, or any issues associated with specific personnel) are common, and you’ll for sure have 100 forms to fill out!

  2. Remove any personal items from your desk before your last day. You don’t want to be stuck carrying too many bags on your way home or to your leaving drinks or dinner.

  3. Be sure to send a thank you leaving email to your team and include a link to your LinkedIn profile to keep the connection after you leave.

Things to keep in mind

  1. Try to keep it professional throughout the resignation process. You want to leave your company on a positive note and ensure both a good job reference and an opportunity for employment in the future.

  2. Keep on giving 100% effort until the last minute on your final day. Working hard all the way to the end will ensure that you are leaving on a high. If you plan the handover well, you should be able to pass off most responsibilities before you leave.

  3. If you are leaving your current employer to work for a direct competitor then prepare yourself to be escorted out of the building right after your resignation or to have your computer access cut pretty quickly to protect sensitive data.

  4. As tempting as it is, don’t indulge yourself in anything like copying databases and confidential information or documents.

  5. Lastly, be sure to update your professional profile on places such as LinkedIn, and add any missing connections from the company you’re leaving.

James Lewis

Vanna co-founder and employer branding expert

3 min read

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