Make Transitions Smooth

I’ll bet that each of us can remember a time we left an organization and the process of leaving was mutually smooth for both parties.  At the same time I’m willing to bet that each of us have dreaded the day that we dared to resign, because from that day forward we were treated like we had the plague or leprosy and they couldn’t wait to kick us out the door.

It is for the benefit of both the company and the employee that both endeavor to make exit transitions smooth.  Although it is not uncommon for employers to accept the resignation as immediate and pay the employee through the notice period, I fail to see the logic in this practice unless the employee has proven to be a threat to national security in the past.  A smooth transition allows all work processes to pass from one party to another with minimal disruption.

I had one employer that was panicked that I would be letting fellow employees and vendors know the “real reasons” I was leaving.  They offered me a large sum of “hush” money and wanted me to sign that my silence would be taken to the grave.  I passed on the offer.  When you are an unethical organization like this one was, I can see the concern that would engage such a reaction because they wanted to keep a lid on the truth.  Funny thing about the truth is it always gets out eventually.  In my case, everyone knew why I was resigning and wondered what took me so long to make the decision.

When companies are angry or feel defensive over an employee resigning, there is too much emotion to make a transition smooth.  Both parties need to take the emotion out of the process and focus on what is best for the organization and the customers.  Spending less time on damage control and more time on understanding what needs to be completed by the successor to the role is more important. 

I’d like to recommend that both the company and the employee that has decided to resign be prepared for this event.  Both should create a list of transition steps and an agreed upon date for implementation.  This avoids last day items from appearing too early in the notice period and looking like the employee is being pushed out.

The benefits of a smooth transition are many, but in my mind it leaves both parties still feeling good about each other.  When there is minimal animosity on the last days then there is also little chance the “real reasons” will ever be revealed.  I believe that most people can forgive and forget things in the workplace over time, as long as the final days are respectful.

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