The Importance of Giving Notice

by Sharlyn Lauby on June 13, 2010

I read an article recently dealing with the pros/cons of employees giving notice.  It’s an interesting read and you can check it out here.

Giving notice should be a two-way street.  Employees should give notice to the company so a transition plan can be put into place.  Companies also have the opportunity to “give notice” to employees – for example, sometimes when a person’s position is being eliminated a company will provide two-weeks’ pay in lieu of notice.

But when companies don’t treat employees with respect, they create a situation where employees don’t feel the need to give notice when they walk out the door.  No business wants to be put in a place where they’re scrambling to cover shifts or work assignments.  So it’s important to create an environment where giving notice is proper versus making those final days painful.

On the other hand, employees should remember what it feels like to be left in a lurch and not use giving notice as a way to “get back” at a manager.  Honestly, the only people you’re hurting are your co-workers and, ultimately, the customer.

Oh and for the record, any company that tells a candidate not to give proper notice to their current employer is scum.  I guarantee they expect employees to give them proper notice so asking a candidate to shaft another company, well it’s just wrong.

While I’m talking about giving notice, I want to emphasize the final part of the giving notice process – telling human resources.  I can’t tell you how many times in my career a manager waited until the moment they were walking an employee out to their car with the going-away-plant in hand that they stopped by HR to say it’s time to look for a new employee.

Um, hello?!  If the whole purpose of giving notice is to create a transition, then let human resources be a part of that transition as well.  Telling HR to start looking at the end of a notice period puts you behind schedule.  HR could have been looking for your next super star during the notice period.

The word on the street is turnover is starting to occur.  Make sure you have a reasonable and realistic resignation notice policy for your operation.  And always treat your employees in a way that will make them want to follow it.

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