How to Handle the Resignation Process

The Resignation Process & The Counter Offer


Congratulations! You’ve been offered an excellent opportunity with a new company that’s right on every level and you’re no doubt itching to get started. Just one small chore to tick off the list…


No matter how much you want to leave your current position resigning can be a difficult and stressful task. Your current company has no doubt helped you progress professionally and as a result the process of handing in your notice can feel uncomfortable.


The most important thing to remember is that you have very valid reasons for accepting a new position with a new company, and the only reason that you considered a change in the first place is because your current employer can no longer offer you the growth and development that your career deserves.


The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimise the anxiety associated with the resignation process. Planning what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it is often the biggest step in ensuring a smooth resignation process.


Primarily, your resignation should come in the form of a letter. Putting your thoughts in a letter will help keep communication clear and concise.


The letter should be courteous, positive and decisive, leaving no room for ambiguity or counter offer. At the end of the day, we want to maintain positive relationships with those that we have worked with in the past as you never know when one of these relationships will cycle back into your professional life.


A good example of a resignation letter is shown here - Resignation Letter Template


What can I expect when I tender my resignation?


Some will agonise over this meeting, others will move through it with ease. In either case you need to be prepared.


There are 3 possible reactions to your resignation:

1) “I can’t believe you’re doing this, leave immediately!”

2) “I can’t believe you’re doing this, we’ll do whatever it takes to keep you!”

3) “I understand completely. I accept your resignation and we will work out a smooth transition.”


1 and 3 are fairly conclusive reactions. More often than not however you will be faced with reaction 2 – the “Counter Offer”.


Whilst at first a counter offer may appear flattering, at the end of the day who wouldn’t like to be told that they’re irreplaceable! However, if changes are only made in reaction to the threat of resignation, then what does that say about your current company? 


Counter offers are a very common occurrence and often an employer’s “easy way out” – minimum effort, minimum change. Ultimately if you were completely satisfied in your current role, you wouldn’t be handing in your notice and a few extra pounds won’t fix your reasons for wanting to leave.


There are many articles providing statistics for not accepting a counter offer, however it’s important to consider the following:


  • If you accept a counter offer, do you see yourself in your current role in the next 6, 12 or 18 months?
  • Why has it taken for you to hand in your resignation to be rewarded with the package you deserve?
  • Are any promises made feasible over the long term? i.e., promotion, changes to role, changes in structure, culture, training, additional flexibility.
  • Are you considering staying with your current employer because it’s simply easier, or do the changes (assuming you feel they are feasible and realistic) now make staying a much better career opportunity than moving to a new employer which you have accepted an offer and committed to joining.


The Summary

With all of this information to hand you should now be well prepared for the resignation process. The most important thing to remember is that there is an incredibly positive reason why you’re reading this – you’ve secured yourself a new job!


Congratulations once again and we wish you a long and successful career with your new employer.


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