How To Give Your Notice – Best Practice
We can all reach a point where we would like to try something new or be able to expand our horizons and make progression in your chosen career path.
Sometimes, this results in the difficult decision to give your notice to your current employer. Being based in the UK means that you will be subject to specific rules when handing in your notice…whether your contract covers this or not.
Accordingly any employee, no matter what industry they are in should know the best way to approach this professionally – without burning any bridges if possible.
Read Your Contract
Before you decide to give your notice, always read your contract first. Within your contract, it will state the notice period you are required to give before you leave your current employer.
This is important to note, as failure to work your notice period will usually result in your employer not paying you your final wage due to you not working.
If your contract requires you to work four weeks from the date in which you handed your notice in, you will have to let your new employer know so they can arrange a starting date for you.
Not only will your contract make you aware of your notice period, but it should also cover any clauses which can have implications for yourself when you leave.
If there are to be any altercations caused during your notice period, you should already be aware of things which can and can’t be done or spoken about as you read your contract.
This will cover your back and prevent you doing something accidentally which is in breach of your contract.
Informing Your Employer
When you are looking to give your notice, always do it in writing. Avoid face to face as this can be classed as unprofessional as well as having no hard evidence to serve as proof for yourself and the date of notice given.
As well as printing a copy off for your employer, we recommend that you also print one off for yourself and keep it safe. Sending an email copy in conjunction with this will be advised as an additional point of reference should an dispute arise based upon the date when you provided your notice.
Before you make any final conclusions on giving your notice in, you need to be 100% certain that this is the right decision. Once you have given your notice letter in, certain employers may not allow you to retract your notice and it may be too late to change your mind.
Drafting your notice letter can help you create a perfect letter which is both professional and clear. If you have not created a notice letter before, it may be useful for somebody to read over it before creating the final draft.
Your notice letter needs to be kept straight to the point and avoid any negative comments about your time in their employment. If you are having to work a notice, you don’t want your time there awkward or uncomfortable.
Your employer will not appreciate negative remarks made about their business or the rest of the team. Instead, the reason for you leaving should be along the lines of you are ready for a new challenge or you would like to try something new.
Afterall, you never know who or when you might face someone later down the line during your career or even out in public.
Within your letter, you should include:
The date in which you are handing the letter in
Your employers name
The date of your last working day
A short and positive reason as to why you are leaving
A short sentence thanking your employer for your time working with them
By keeping your notice short and sweet, you are keeping everything positive which will reduce the risk of any animosity being created.
The timing of giving your employer your notice letter is crucial when it comes to a pleasant response.
If they are busy a lot of the time and you struggle to find a chance to have a chat with them, ask if you can book in a meeting with them and say you would like to have a chat. By doing this, you are allowing them to process it appropriately and not springing your decision upon them.
If you do have issues which you believe should be addressed prior to you leaving, this is best to be said face to face with a witness in the room. Having a witness present, who is impartial to both sides, will mean that neither parties can accuse or create false accusations during the meeting.
Again, this meeting should be kept civilised and should not be used as a time to point fingers at members of the team or the company itself. Instead, this should be done calmly and professional throughout. Make your points general and try and put them across in a positive way and suggest that you are saying this to help improve the overall dynamics and working structure moving forward.
A simple template example can be seen below (as referenced by the acas.org.uk website)
Dear [name of manager],
Please accept this as notice of my resignation from the position of [your job title] at [Business or organisation name].
[Optional] Since my notice period is [X weeks/months], I believe my last day will be [date]. Please let me know if that is incorrect.
[Optional] Please let me know how much accrued holiday and pay I am owed.
[Optional – adapt this for your personal circumstances and relationship] Thank you for the support you’ve given me during my time at [Business or organisation name].
Please let me know if there’s anything you need from me before I leave.
Choosing The Right Time To Tell The Team
If you are particularly close to your team members, you may have already told a few of them that you were considering leaving.
However, if you are yet to inform your team, you will need to do this as soon as it is possible and as many people at once.
Making everyone aware at the same time will avoid any rumours being created about the reason you are leaving. It will also prevent anybody from feeling left out if everyone knows apart from them.
During Your Notice Period
Once you have given your notice and informed the rest of the team, it is time to start counting down the days until you leave and start your next chapter elsewhere.
Although you are leaving and you have received the date of your last day, this does not mean that you can slide into the background and avoid doing any relevant work. Up until your last day, you should continue to work alongside and support your team in every way you can.
Don’t allow yourself to slack off because you believe that it won’t affect you once you have left. You never know when you might next see your ex-colleague’s and you don’t want them to have a bad impression of you.
Prepare Yourself For A Different Response
Being a manager means that you should be used to staff members giving in their notice. Whilst most managers will handle this well and start your leaving process, others may not deal with it as positively.
Losing a member of staff can be difficult for a team, especially if they are short staffed or you have worked there for a considerable amount of time. Don’t be surprised if your employer doesn’t handle your notice as well as you may have hoped. They can’t stop you from leaving.
You may be asked to leave immediately without working a notice period. This may not be an ideal response to your notice, but it is very important to remember that if the company requires you to leave without working your contracted notice period, they are still required to pay you up until your last working day. Therefore, it is important to read your contract before doing anything.
Alternatively, they may try and persuade you to stay by offering you a pay rise or company benefits such as a car or more holidays. This may seem nice and can potentially twist your arm when they first offer this to you, but it is important to remember the root cause for you leaving in the first place and whether these added benefits are truly worth you reversing your decision.
Remain Positive Throughout
Leaving a job and starting somewhere new can often come with an array of emotions. From feeling nervous or anxious, to excitement and joy, it is always important to remain positive all the way through to the end.
Anything could be hiding around the corner, whether it be good or bad. Leaving your job on a positive will allow you to have a smoother exit as well as facing no awkward encounter’s later in your life.
No matter the reason, when you give your notice in, always keep the situation positive and professional.
This will not only help you in the long run, but it will also provide you with a better time before you leave along with keeping things friendly in the workplace for your employer.
Never bad-mouth the company or the members of staff during this time or even after you have left as this can come around when you least expect it.
Leaving your job positively will mean that you will stick in their mind as a positive employer instead of someone who was negative and lazy as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
No matter where your life may take you and which career path you end up going down, always remain polite and professional!