Eight Things To Do During Your Notice Period
Whether you have decided to leave or have been asked to, here’s a list of things to do and avoid when you are serving the notice period.
Boss first, others next
If you have decided to leave, be graceful and speak to your boss first. It is both professional and wise to put your resignation down in writing only after your boss has given the go ahead. This gives him time and space to process the information, plan the next steps and even make a counter offer. Ask how your exit should be communicated to others and let him or her decide what works best. If the firm has down sized you, your boss is already in the picture. Seek his inputs and views on what happened and what could have been done.
It’s about work not play
Once your departure from the company and last working day is confirmed, you can make your plans. Act with dignity as you are still in employment. Your reputation will depend on how you behave now. Be professional and avoid the folly of mentally checking out of your office during your notice period. Maintain your professional routine. Discuss and negotiate work expectations with your boss and team and then exceed expectations in both scope and deadlines. If you need time off during this period, reassure the firm on your commitments.
Your employer may want you to complete all existing projects before you leave. However, given the limited duration of your notice period vis-à-vis the length of the project, that may not be practical. A more reasonable expectation is a full knowledge transfer to the person or team that will take over your role and responsibilities. Start off with meeting your replacement and setting an agenda for handing over information. Introduce your replacement to your team, clients and vendors and formally inform them of the change in role. Share details of your weekly progress with your boss and make sure other stake holders, including accounts and HR, are also in the loop. A great knowledge transfer will continue to burnish your reputation after you leave.
Thank yous and byes
Apart from official requirements, take time out for the professional relationships you have built. Make a list of people you need to thank personally or writing an email. Spread out your communication over the last two weeks so that you do not miss out in the final days. Prepare a nice farewell speech in case your team gives you a formal send-off party. Leave out the unpleasant memories while you share achievements, contributions by others and stories of your personal growth. People won’t remember what you said but they will remember how you made them feel. So be gracious and exit on a high because your future employers will speak to former colleagues when they run a verification check on you for senior roles.
Towards the beginning of your notice period, speak to your supervisors, HR and senior colleagues and sound them out to write reference letters. HR managers are generally permitted to give standard experience letters. Make sure they include details of joining, relieving, last designation and, where possible, whether the firm is open to re-hiring you. Even if you have your next job tied up, seek references as long-term investments.
Documentation and finances
Obtain a clearance certificate from all concerned stakeholders. Retain a soft copy of the no-dues certificate. Transfer all personal data and contacts from your office computer to your own devices. Obtain fresh insurance covers as your employer-sponsored insurance covers will lapse once you leave. Discuss your gratuity if you have completed 5 years. Transfer your PF account or withdraw it if you are unemployed for over two months. Calculate your commissions, pending salaries, applicable bonuses, reimbursement bills and encashment of leaves with your HR before you leave so that your final settlement is error free.
If you are a banker or working at a strategic level then you might be asked to go on garden leave. Here you are expected to stay at home and not join another firm for a couple of months. This ensures the strategic value of the information that you hold degrades with the passage of time and is of lesser use to competitors who may employ you. When you are on garden leave, remember that you are on contract with your present employer and thus legally bound not to work or share your information or skills with any other firm.
Plan the future
You may have a job offer in hand and can choose to use your spare time to try and get something better. If you do not have an offer and need a job, then invest most of your time in your job search. If you have an interview that clashes with work hours, your present employer is likely to grant leave and support you in your job search. Finally, you may choose to upgrade your skills or study further. Use this time to explore your options and plan your finances for the study break.
1) Blab about your plans - People really do not want to know about the awesome salary and your new job offer or the monthlong international vacation that you are planning. Politely sidestep conversations about your future and avoid becoming a magnet for negativity or gossip.
2) Junk the present - Squealing about your colleagues to your boss or trashing your boss within your team will not sit well with your image once you leave. Similarly, resist the temptation to bring a long list of your complaints to the exit interview. Whenever in doubt, choose the moral and social high ground.
3) Leave trash behind - Clean out your desk completely the day before you leave. At least a week before, collect all the books and trinkets you have loaned to friends. With a month left, pursue all shared party bills and inter-personal loans to their completion.
4) Carry data or materials - Any company data or materials that are in your possession after you leave will technically be "stealing". Hand over your company email password, pen drives, laptop, data and confidential documents to the right people. Check your personal devices for any data that you may have inadvertently transferred.
5) Don’t shut the door - All doors that you slam on your way out will invariably be locked in case you need to return. Keep relationships and communication amicable with your company, boss, HR and colleagues. Treat them with respect for you will definitely cross paths with some of them.
The writer is Director, Executive Search, at Quetzal.
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