Tips for a Positive Resignation

Manager reading a resignation letter across the table from employee
Lin Grensing-Pophal, SPHR Photo
Contributing Writer

1 minute

In a tight-knit industry like credit unions, it’s important to stay professional when leaving your job.

Most employees will face a time when, for whatever reason, they decide to leave an employer. When that occurs, how they approach the situation can have a big impact on their relationship with their former employer. Even though they may be eager to move on to the next great opportunity, burning bridges is never advised. 

Here are some best practice recommendations to leave on the right foot and boost the odds of maintaining a positive relationship:

  • Whenever possible, tell your manager first, says Laurie J. Maddalena, CPCC, PHR, CEO/chief leadership consultant with Envision Excellence LLC, in Rockville, Md. “Don’t go first to HR and bypass your direct manager unless there’s something egregious going on,” says Maddalena. 
  • Follow up your verbal notice with a resignation letter. “Thank the company if that resonates with you—for their support or training or whatever,” Maddalena recommends. In addition, she says: “If you had a great relationship with your manager, mention that you appreciate the manager’s support.”
  • Give adequate notice. Maddalena suggests that staff-level employees provide at least two weeks of notice, that managers provide at least four weeks and that senior executives give four to six weeks of notice. 
  • During your last few weeks with the organization, do whatever you can to help ensure a smooth transition.
  • You never know when, somewhere down the road, you may want a reference—or you may encounter a former manager or colleague in another job setting. Taking the high road can help you maintain a positive, professional image—wherever your career may take you.

Lin Grensing-Pophal, SPHR, is a freelance writer and human resource management and marketing communication consultant in Chippewa Falls, Wis. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement (Adams Media, 2014) and Human Resource Essentials (SHRM, 2010).

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