Whether you are leaving your current role for a better opportunity or you’re leaving simply because it’s a “not-so-perfect-job”, you’ll still want to end on a high note and make sure you don’t burn any bridges. That’s why you need a plan for leaving your current role, just like you do when starting a new one.
This situation can be difficult to navigate but if you follow these steps, you will be ensured a graceful and well thought out exit. Let’s take a look…
Step 1: Plan your Vacation
Although time off may not be on the forefront of your mind right now, it should be. You should take some time off before a job change because, unless you have a pre-planned vacation, you may wait 6+ months before taking time off in a new role.
There are a few ways to recharge before your new start:
- Take time while interviewing: When you start to interview, plan your time off to fall in the next 4-6 weeks. You can’t take PTO with you, and you deserve to have it, so use it up before you leave.
- Take time off when you get the offer: Most jobs have conditions of employment such as background checks, drug tests, and credit checks which take about a week, so this may be a great time to take PTO.
- Take time off between jobs: If your finances allow, take that vacation between jobs. However, make sure you understand your health benefits between jobs. Do benefits end on your last day? Do they end on the last day of the month? It’s best to have no lapse in your coverage if you are going to go away.
- Take time after giving notice: This is the least desirable since your team may suddenly remember things that they need from you. However, you can extend your notice to include a week of vacation and two weeks to transition.
Whatever you decide, just remember that if you’ve got the job, you are the perfect candidate in your new employer’s eyes – they will wait one more week for you if needed.
Step 2: Give Proper Notice
Even if your notice is not a complete surprise to your manager, these conversations can be challenging. It is best to do this directly and not via an email or a text.
Here are some tips for giving notice:
- Wait until all offer conditions are met: Do not give notice until the new offer is final. System glitches, stolen identities, and other issues can delay or even stop the process. You’ll you want to make sure you definitely have a job lined up before you leave your current role.
- Schedule a meeting with your manager as soon as possible: Send a 30 Minute Planner with your choice of phone, video, or in person meeting. If your manager suspects something, they may reach out to you beforehand, so be prepared to have a discussion earlier than proposed.
- Write your resignation letter (but don’t send it yet): There are great articles online about writing a resignation notice, but the minimum is to include your current title and your last day with the company. Always assume this letter will be loaded into the HR system – don’t write anything you wouldn’t want to be kept on file.
- Meet with your manager: Share your planned end date with the company. This is usually two weeks’ notice unless your location or company has different requirements. Ask if this date impacts potential benefits (i.e. medical coverage or a bonus). Also, be prepared to explain the reasons you are leaving. With this new information your manager may try to retain you with a counteroffer. If you decide to continue with your departure, ask when you should send your resignation letter and who to.
Step 3: Build and Execute Your Transition Plan
This is your guide for what is expected of you as you are leaving a company. Meeting these commitments will be the most impactful way to leave a great impression:
- List your highest priorities: Validate your list with your manager to see if anything can be removed or should be added. For each item, get agreement on the new owner and your pending task for it. This should be gathering existing documentation, posting to a shared location, and creating or updating the time on a tracking system like Jira so that it doesn’t fall through the cracks.
- Maintain the list: Work through it and make sure you meet your commitments. Send a final email with the list (including completed items) to key team members.
Step 4: Stay Engaged
Remember that you are still actively employed and an important part of the team right up until you leave.
Here are some tips for staying engaged:
- Focus on your transition plan: Work through the tasks and update your manager and colleagues as needed.
- Continue to attend key meetings and participate in them: If you stop attending some meetings, ensure the organizer knows ahead of time.
- Continue to respond to your team for information and guidance.
Step 5: Saying Goodbye
You have built relationships with colleagues, leaders, and vendors. There are different ways to communicate your news depending on your relationship strength:
- The Inner Circle: While some of your close colleagues may have known you were looking for a new job, sharing this news with those that didn’t know may be much harder. Have face-to-face conversations or calls so you can answer any questions, but make sure you ask them to not share it until you have finished sharing with other key people.
- Colleagues: It’s nice to make sure that everyone hears the news from you, whether you are close with them or not. While it may be unfeasible to explain to everyone in the company, try your best to tell the masses – especially if it will impact their work process.
- Customers/Contacts: Contact these via call or emails. Let them know how your work is transitioning and direct them to who will help them in the future.
The Final Day
Write a Thank You email and schedule it to be sent at the end of the day. You may want two versions to include one with your professional contact information (such as LinkedIn) and a second one with your personal contact information.
Set up your out of office message to start later in the day, with the end date set for a time that’s far in the future. Make sure to include the date of your last day and the new contact for your role.
Be prepared for mixed emotions. You built great relationships and hopefully they are strong enough to survive beyond leaving this role.
Following these steps will set you up for a successful transition from your current role, while enabling you to maintain great relationships. The Salesforce ecosystem is massive, but you don’t know when or how you may encounter your colleagues and leaders in the future.
Good luck on the transition to your next role!