In The Workplace

I’m the human resource (HR) manager of a medium-sized corporation. For the past two years, we’ve experienced resignations by employees who simply leave without permission or advance notice. It appears that people are no longer worried about their reputations among employers. They’ve not even bothered to ask for clearances. What is the expected etiquette for resigning employees? — Lazy Dog

It’s an entirely different ballgame for HR managers and their organizations during the Great Resignation, which set in during the pandemic. Some workers prefer to work from home. Others think a daily commute is not worth the hassle given what they are paid.

Covid-19 showed us that labor and management are speaking two different languages. The only thing they have in common is adherence to government health and safety protocols in the workplace. This may explain why some workers are behaving unprofessionally in the hiring and resignation process, driving employers crazy.

Whatever the reason, team leaders, unit supervisors and department managers must be proactive in identifying workers who may no longer be happy with their jobs. This is done via casual dialogue to feel the pulse of the workplace.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that workers can be persuaded or forced to stay on the job. Management can only do so much, but nothing can be done to prevent a resignation, except to create an environment where resigning employees bother follow simple etiquette to keep their relations with past employers professional.

Many workers’ lives may differ significantly from the conditions they find in the workplace. That’s not to say employers maintain ideal conditions at work. Many employers that I’ve interacted with violate labor standards, paying their workers a pittance or failing to contribute to their social insurance accounts.

Bad employers often impose unreasonable rules on their workers, raising the resignation rate. I often advise workers in these situations to maintain a positive attitude towards their employers.

In other words, don’t burn bridges. Take the high road. Try doing the following:

One, follow the law by giving at least a 30-days’ notice. This is the minimum requirement under the law. Put your resignation in writing and request the HR department and the boss’s secretary to acknowledge receipt of the letter. If you don’t want to give formal notice, you can only do it legally for cause, such as being treated inhumanely and unfairly.

Two, file your written resignation in person. Don’t do it via e-mail, text message or phone call. That’s because you want to personally witness the boss’s body language. Arrange a meeting with your boss at his or her convenience, preferably towards the close of office hours. Express your plan to resign in clear but respectful language. If needed, explain the reason for your resignation, but do it verbally.

Three, show gratitude for the opportunity. Think of all the support that you got from the organization and the chance to learn. It could result in a positive recommendation to a prospective employer or other institutions doing background checks. Even if you’re bitter about the work relationship, don’t show it. Once you’ve decided to resign, there’s nothing you can change.

Four, offer to train your replacement, if needed. You may even assist the employer in looking for a suitable person who can do your job on a temporary basis. Arrange for a proper turnover of all company property, tools, equipment, records, including your company ID. This should help fast-track the issuance of a company clearance and release of your terminal pay. Whenever possible, be available all the time in tying up the loose ends in your work relationship.

Last, bid goodbye to your department colleagues. Do this after notifying your direct boss about your resignation. If you’re resigning, keep it a secret until a formal letter is received by your boss and the HR department. This is to maintain a respectful attitude towards your boss who won’t want to hear it from the grapevine. If this happens, it could derail your resignation.

In conclusion, whatever you do with your planned resignation and the reasons behind it, do it in a way that allows a potential return to your employer, if the right opportunity comes along. The world is full of surprises. You would not want to leave an organization in a way that endangers your future and long-term plans.


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