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Most of the time, a supervisor does not look forward to receiving a resignation letter. I did say most of the time. Unfortunately, there are times when that letter is welcomed! However, today’s blog won’t focus on that but maybe a future blog will!  Today, I’m focused on the actual letter itself and what works when you are putting your intent to depart in written form.

A resignation letter should be short and straight-forward. Yes, I’m stating this as an absolute. This is not the place to recite purple prose or wax eloquently on and on. It is particularly not the place to recite all the grievances you’ve bottled up over your tenure with the company. There are times and places for that but it’s not the resignation letter. For your official resignation letter, I recommend a simple three-part approach in the letter itself.

  1. A statement indicating that you are resigning and providing  X (number) weeks notice.
  2. An expression of gratitude for the opportunity of working for the company and with your supervisor. If you mean it, provide a specific compliment to both.
  3. Indicate your plan and willingness to ensure a smooth transition on your way out and give your best wishes for the continued success of the company.

Each of these should be expressed in your own manner but should not stray from the points. For item 1, please do not neglect to provide notice. It’s professional and expected. As an employee, this is an area that may or may not provide you with extra brownie points but failing to do it can hurt you, long-term.  To resign without notice is a very valid reason for a company to indicate you are not eligible for rehire during future employment verification. Your company may actually choose to waive the notice period that you provide. They can do this and, if so, you should be prepared for the date of your resignation submission to also possibly be your last day of work. The point I started out with bears repeating, do not fail to provide notice. Failing to can only hurt you. If your company has routinely waived the notice period, allow them the opportunity to do it in your case.

The true purpose of your letter will have been served in the first couple of sentences.  The remainder is focused on simply establishing “goodwill” but is also important. Burned bridges can not be crossed again. We live in a vast world that has been made smaller through tremendously increased means of communications. Six degrees of separation is probably more like two now! Social media have linked us in a manner that maintaining goodwill is essential. Your current co-workers and bosses may be already connected with your new company and/or any future organization to which your career may lead you. Go out on a positive note. The music may follow you for years to come. Make sure your work is not left dangling but in good form for transition. And, finally, thank your supervisor and wish your company the best.

Of course, you may have other sentiments you may wish to express. Do this in person or in the conversations that will inevitably and necessarily take place once you’ve handed over your official resignation letter. However, in writing, keep to the 3-part approach.  It’s what works at work!

Best regards,

Vivian L. Mora, MSS, SPHR

Vivian L. Mora is certified as a senior professional in human resources (SPHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institution and holds a master’s degree in sociology and economics. She is the founder and managing partner of Mora & Associates, a retained executive search and human capital consulting firm based in Katy, TX.

Vivian offers Online HR Certification Prep Courses as well as other workplace-specific learning sessions (http://www.morahr.com/hr-education.html). For more information, please contact her directly at (877) 310-6553, ext. 702.

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Once upon a time there was an “employment pact” between employer and employee. In this pact, the employer set out that if you come to work, do a good job, and keep your nose essentially clean, you will have a job as long as you want it. That fairy tale ended before most of us were born. If anyone was holding out that this may still exist in today’s world, the past couple of years will have changed those views.

What this means is that company allegiance as well as employee allegiance just does not extend as far as it may have in the past. For most employees that sense of allegiance is now associated with their own careers rather than a particular company. So when it’s every man or woman for themselves, what is a company to do to retain its key contributors? 
 
More often than not, companies begin to reach for reward elements as a quick solution to retention. However, I’m telling you now that most reward elements provide only a patch with very little long-term holding value. Throughout my career in human resources, I’ve come across a multitude of executives and professionals who are more than willing to accept a new job offer as long as the start date follows the cutoff date for full payment of their current company’s pending bonus. Considering how we arrived at this point in the US job market, organizations seeking a sustainable retention tool with value today, tomorrow, and long into the future need to make a serious investment in learning and development at all levels.
 
Talent and leadership development gained a new level of importance as individuals found themselves jobless after 10, 15, and 20 years of employment. As they dusted off their resumes and summed up their marketability, many discovered that their skills and abilities fell a bit short of what’s required today to get the results organizations were seeking. While they were working hard and doing what was asked of them, they were not necessarily growing in a manner that made them more valuable. Colleges and universities have seen their student population increase dramatically over the past 24 months, largely due to formerly working adults returning to school or enrolling in continuing education programs. Some in this new group of students are there to upgrade their ability to perform in their current occupations whereas others are there to acquire new knowledge and skills for increased career flexibility or a complete change of careers.
 
The implication for companies in all this is that your current employees witnessed the fallout and can just as easily see themselves in those shoes. The one thing that can provide some sense of security is a solid and marketable base of knowledge, skills, and abilities that can be applied in any number of employment settings. In this type of environment, a company that demonstrates a commitment to its employees through talent and leadership development has a much higher probability of retaining its key talent. By doing this, you are creating an environment that will incent your employees to want to be better employees for you and not for your competitors.
 
With regards,
Vivian L. Mora, MSS, SPHR
 
 
Note:  If you are interested in establishing talent and leadership development programming that will work for your organization, feel free to contact me directly, 1-877-310-6553, ext. 702 or email me at vivian@morahr.com. We offer development programs geared towards accelerating individual, team, and enterprise performance (http://morahr.com/HR_Alignment.aspx) and we also maintain working alliances with a number of consulting firms and independent consultants to ensure that the needs of our clients are first and foremost.

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