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Handing in your Notice and Dealing with Counter Offers

Once you've received your offer letter 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's likely those reasons are not going to change.

We’ve included some tips below to make the process as smooth as possible.

1.       Write a letter of resignation. Keep this short and concise and include the notice period you will serve and any pay outstanding (including holiday pay, bonuses and expenses or commission owing) and when you understand you will receive it.

2.       Arrange a meeting with your manager as soon as possible. Don't let time drag. Your new company is keen for you to join them. If there is nowhere very private at your place of work, suggest having a coffee somewhere or meeting after hours.

3.       Prepare what you are going to say and don't forget to take your letter of resignation. Don't leave it on your desk for your boss or another colleague to find and don't give it to him/her and go back to your desk! This is one letter that will need to be discussed.

The Meeting

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. Therefore you must keep the meeting professional and show your appreciation for your time spent with the company. Agree your leaving date and the date you will be paid for outstanding wages, etc. Don't forget to ask for a written reference.

Working your notice

You have a short or longer notice period to work. It is important to keep levels of motivation up and try not to watch the clock until it’s your last day. If you completely switch off, it’s likely you’ll leave your team a massive workload behind you.

Remember to let the team know you are leaving as well. Consider leaving your contact details and a short email saying your thanks. This way you can stay in touch after you move on.

Unfortunately the process of handing in your notice doesn’t always go smoothly. When you have the meeting with your current employer, they may respond by offering you a counter offer.

A counter offer is responding 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 (since a colleague did, for example), then you are playing a very dangerous game. The company is aware of your unrest and dishonesty in going to an interview and whilst the offer may appear attractive, it may affect any future pay rises, promotional prospects and training opportunities. Industry statistics have found that 86% of people who accept counter offers still leave within six months of deciding to stay at their present company

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.

Peer Group Pressure - Companies are not the only ones 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 a long time this can be difficult, as you have been very used to the way things are run and have probably earned a lot of respect. However, all good things must come to an end and there is nothing to stop you keeping in touch with your colleagues socially.

Magic Promotion - This is often produced 'out of a hat'. Again, your company does not want to lose you and whilst the offer of promotion is no doubt sincere, do you really have to hand in your notice before your efforts are rewarded?  Ensure you explore the real reasons why you want to leave and ask yourself: “Has anything really changed?” If it hasn't, then graciously turn down the opportunity.

Being made an attractive counter offer is instantly good for your ego, but you must take a number of things into consideration before saying “thanks” or “no thanks”:

  • You have only received a counter offer because you resigned. It is a purely reactive tactic from employer and should make you wonder whether you need to resign every time you want to improve your situation. If your employer thought you were truly worthy, why didn’t they improve your situation anyway?

  • Do your reasons for wanting to leave still exist? You may have a number of reasons – salary too low, no promotion in sight, don’t like your boss. You may be offered more money to stay, which can be tempting, but if you still have other issues outstanding, you’ll probably end up leaving anyway.

  • Despite what your employer is saying to you, they will probably now consider you a risk and may make contingency plans without your knowledge. You may not be seen as a true member of the team.

  • The counter offer could simply be an interim tactic from your employer to bridge a gap whilst they look to replace you.

Much research and many surveys have been completed over the years to measure what happens to employees who accept counter offers. Not many are still with their company after 12 months, and 2 of the main reasons for this are:

  • Salary was hardly ever the prime motivator for resigning – more money didn’t ultimately change the true state of play

  • Things didn’t take long to return to the way they were before the resignation

Before accepting a counter offer, ask yourself why your employer has made the offer. There is a strong possibility that the cons will outweigh the pros and you will realize that your decision to resign was right after all.