Navigating the gap between resignation and leaving day

From the point of view of HR, there is often a mixture of panic and also the keenness to make sure the person who is leaving contributes until it’s time to have that cake and speech moment.
HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd
Navigating the gap between resignation and leaving day

Ahh, resignation. The joy, the feeling of freedom, the countdown to that final day. Well, that’s the employee’s experience – right? From the point of view of HR, there is often a mixture of panic and also the keenness to make sure the person who is leaving contributes until it’s time to have that cake and speech moment.

Then, of course, there are also the elements of a negative reason for leaving. Not everybody resigns because they are off to pastures new with a spring in their step.

Managing that last month - or few weeks – the good and the bad, the productive and the downtime, is an often-trod path. And for many in HR, it will feel like it could be done better. And it could!

It's not just about an exit interview and a party. Dr Aaron Taylor, Head of the School of Human Resource Management at Arden University, explains: “A happy exit experience is key for employees, employers and their colleagues and can help to ensure a seamless transition for all parties once the employee has left the business. Notice periods are an incredibly important time, with often just a few short weeks to ensure a seamless transition, but clear communication throughout the exit process can help to reduce the risk of a cliff-edge moment at the end of their employment."


There are three clear steps you need to focus on when someone has handed in their resignation in a positive way: The plan for their notice period, possible exit interview, and their legacy.

First of all you need to set out what is expected during the notice period. People will naturally become disengaged, as they have in all likelihood checked out.

A clear handover plan
Clarity is necessary from the start, says Alastair Swindlehurst. Founder at EZHR: "The obligation is on the employer to take control of the situation and get in there with the person straight way. Many people will acknowledge the resignation and sort things out nearer the time, in many respects that does work but there are also a lot of situations that it doesn’t. First of all you need to set out what is expected during the notice period. People will naturally become disengaged, as they have in all likelihood checked out. So you need to be quick and clear with setting expectations, agree the length of the notice i.e. can they leave early or not, or because of restrictions will you place them on gardening leave.

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