Giving Notice

Congratulations on being offered your new position. Now comes the daunting task of handing in your notice. Sometimes this stage can be more harrowing than the interview - especially if you've been with your present company for a long time.

Preparation

Once you've received your Offer letter and Contract from your new company, you need to prepare to hand in your notice. Try not to feel guilty about resigning. Remember the reasons why you decided to leave. It is likely those reasons are not going to change.

* Prepare a Letter of Resignation. Make the letter short and concise and include notice period you will serve and any pay outstanding (including holiday pay, bonuses, expenses or commission owing) and when you understand you will receive it. Ask New Frontiers for an example Resignation Letter.

* Arrange a meeting with your appropriate Superior as soon as possible. Don't let time drag. Your new company is keen for you to join them. If there is nowhere private, suggest having a coffee somewhere or meeting after hours.

* Always prepare and take with you your Letter of Resignation. Do not leave it on your boss’ desk or give to him/her and go back to your desk! This is one letter which will need to be discussed.

The Meeting or Exit Interview

Remember companies are often shocked and upset to lose a good member of staff and they can be caught unaware when you hand in your notice.

* Keep the meeting professional and show your appreciation for your time spent with the company. Agree the leaving date (see legislation notes) and date you will be paid for any outstanding wages etc. Don't forget to ask for a written reference.

The meeting may be very straightforward, especially if you show from the start that your mind is made up. If you show any doubt about your decision, it will be picked up on and some people have experienced the following:

* Counter Offer - Some companies have been known to respond to resignations by matching or exceeding your new salary package. If you have gone through the recruitment process in the hope that you may get a counter offer you are playing a dangerous game. The company has become aware of your unrest and dishonesty in going on an interview and whilst the counter offer may appear attractive, it may affect any future pay rises, promotion prospects and training opportunities. New Frontiers have found that 70% of people accepting counter offers still leave within six months of deciding to stay at their present company.

* Peer Group Pressure - It is not only companies that are sad to lose good members of staff. Colleagues are often distressed and disorientated at a team member leaving and will try many levels of persuasion to get you to stay, often so they can be happy. When you have been with a company for a long time, this can be very difficult as you have been very used to the way things are run and have probably earned a lot of respect. However, all things must move on and there is nothing to stop you keeping in touch with your colleagues.

* Bad-Mouthing - Some companies are desperate not to lose staff and may bad-mouth your intended new employer. If you hear of a worrying piece of information about your new company, please call your new company or your New Frontiers Consultant to confirm or dispel the rumour.

* Emotional Blackmail - A great deal of pressure can be placed upon individuals by companies to get employees to stay since it is very costly and time consuming replacing valued members of staff. Often if the resignation meeting has not gone well, we have heard reports of the following - threats not to pay wages or a bonus already earned, threats to give a bad reference, or loss of an entitlement to a prize you have won or discounted holidays already booked etc. There are Employment Laws protecting your rights. Try to recognise these threats for what they are - just threats. However, always seek advice.

* Sudden Career Opportunities - There are often produced as if from nowhere. Again, your company does not want to lose you and whilst the offer of a promotion or new project is no doubt sincere, do you really have to hand in your notice before your efforts are rewarded? (see Counter Offer). Ensure you explore the real reasons you wanted to leave and ask yourself if anything has really changed. If it hasn't, then graciously turn down the opportunity.

* Shown the Door! - This can often happen in a sales environment or where there is a high level of confidentiality entrusted or trade secrets. Some companies feel that keeping an employee to work notice can upset the rest of the workforce as he or she is demotivated and probably not as productive. So, do not feel that you have been 'dumped and rejected' if this happens or that the company may give you a bad reference, it is probably for the best since you can now join your new company much sooner!

Above all if you begin to have serious doubts about whether you are doing the right thing, please talk to us. Moving on to a new company and getting used to their ways, systems and values is at worst daunting and at best challenging and exciting. Just remember your new company is really looking forward to you starting with them and will have been using this time to plan your induction, desk, computer system etc and will be counting on your joining. Most companies would appreciate a call from a new employee prior to starting if you require any further information about the company or your new job.

Your Rights

Ideally you will want to leave your company on amicable and positive terms, but you may find that you have an employment contract which is unreasonable or you risk losing your new job because of fears of bad references from your old company. The information below serves as a guideline only. If you have an irreconcilable dispute, please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor for further advice.

Notice Period - Statutory notice is set at one week for every year of employment to a maximum of 12 weeks (for 12 years service). If you have signed a contract for a longer period than stated above, you are entitled to renegotiate to a more reasonable length and is best approached in the resignation meeting. Some people prefer to shorten their notice by deducting outstanding holidays owed from the period. Do not work longer than you have to. Temps have no notice period unless otherwise stated. They can leave immediately but it is usually preferable to at least work to the end of the week.

Bad Reference - No company will give you a bad or non-factual reference even if you leave on bad terms. Anyone who writes untruths leaves themselves liable to a suit for 'defamation of character'. Try instead to ask for a written reference as you leave. Not only will this come in useful in the future, but it will also save your old employer from having to reply to reference requests.

No Pay - Getting your last month’s wages and entitlements from some past employers can be like pulling teeth. Whilst most settle without a hitch, there are some companies who raise disputes. As a last resort, if phoning the company daily hasn't worked, you can make a very simple claim in the County Court under the Wages Act without the need of a solicitor. Simply call your local court for the form.

 

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