There comes a time when an employee must leave a company. The reasons range from better opportunities, to toxic work environments; office bullying from cliquey co-workers, communication breakdown, among others. But before you turn in your resignation, what is the best exit strategy?
Human resource consultant and CEO of Success Africa Ethan Musolini says the first rule of thumb is leaving on good terms. He advises that one should never leave when they have caused drama, insulted people, or been nasty.
“Even if they are nasty, do not respond with nastiness. Just be as good as good you can be, and leave on good terms. Either way, it catches up with you either for the good, or for the bad. The key thing is to just be in good books,” he counsels.
Musolini says life is like a bank account and that every positive thing is a deposit, while every negative thing, is a withdrawal.
“There is someone I know who left this company but worked very hard, was always good, and left on good terms. Then it turned out that a colleague here recommended her name to this one company, which still turned out that the decision makers in both companies, knew each other very well. She was successful but had this person been shady or negative; they would not have gotten the new job,” Musolini says.
Make it formal
Joel Kajjajjata, a human resource practitioner, recommends a formal exit.
“You may have to write a resignation (letter) first of all; accept an exit interview with your manager or supervisor, to have a discussion with them regarding your intention to resign, negotiate or agree on your exit,” he says.
Musolini also recommends the formal approach which is a more humane way to leave since it gives the current employer ample time to find a replacement.
He says it could be a month or more given that some jobs require 30 days, while others 90 days.
But he urges that if you know that you have an offer in 90 days, it is good to let the employer know in advance.
Mentor a replacement
“You can offer to mentor your replacement in those 30 or 90 days to take over when you leave. Employers are always grateful for smooth transitions,” he remarks.
Kajjajjata concurs with this adding that: “If the negotiations are not possible, then as the employee; feel free to share knowledge to help the business, by showing an intention to resign. Thereafter, prepare the person who will take over from you if at all they are in the company.”
Musolini says that besides earning you recognitions, you would have also impacted someone’s life by mentoring them.
Pauline Angom, the founder of Pap Deco, advises that one ought to be sure as to why they are leaving.
“Do not fall for the bandwagon effect. Plan for your next step, as you cannot just sit home idle in the meantime,” she says.
She encourages employees to only leave their current employment when they are sure of what they are going to do next, and not just leave to sit at home.
“Everyone is valuable when they are doing something. You are valuable when you are employed somewhere, than when you are not. And unless circumstances are beyond repair, it is better to move when you know you have a landing place; even when the job is a smaller position,” he advises.
Kajjajjata adds that the best time one ought to leave is when they are leaving for growth, perhaps for better employment opportunities.
“If you have been in a company for 20 years, you should start asking yourself whether you are not learning anymore. That could also influence your decision, besides career growth,” he suggests.
Musolini advises the employee to think ahead before they leave their current employment.
“Have a bigger plan, do not just think of going for that job but think ahead. Not just about the new job but the next career level,” Musolini advises.