From speaking to other HR Professionals and in my own experience, it appears employees may feel that the rules of giving notice have changed. The result is more employees giving less than a full notice when leaving an organization. This is an unfortunate new trend, because being a professional is just as important now as it was a few years ago.

Why might some employees feel differently about giving notice and are not following normal protocol? I have a few theories that I will note below and none of them justify you not giving a full notice (or more!) when resigning your position.

  • Working Remote: Working remote brings less connectivity and, inarguably, a weaker relationship bond than being side-by-side with someone. In some situations, you may never have even personally met your Manager and your co-workers, or at least not since COVID-19 started. This makes giving notice much easier and many believe that even giving a call is becoming too much trouble, and instead send an e-mail or text. For some, when you do not have a bond with people, then you are not concerned regarding leaving them in a tough position by resigning. Rather than giving notice and making sure a good transition is underway, it is tempting just to leave and start the new job with your next group of anonymous colleagues.
  • Less Concerned About Work History: Since so many people found themselves out of work during COVID-19, there is a feeling amongst some job seekers that their recent work history will be less scrutinized. So, they assume that a few short stays (perhaps with limited or no notice) will “fly under the radar”. In my mind, Western New York is a relatively small community and negative reputations can spread fast, especially if the person is known to job hop with no notice.
  • Job Seeker Labor Market: Not sure why this phenomenon seems to have gained momentum, but as workers feel like they have more control or say over their situation, professional norms seem to be forgotten. Even if you don’t hold your current employer in a high regard, think about your co-workers (even if you don’t know them well) that are still there and how difficult the transition will be if you do not give notice.
  • Pressure From New Employer: With the tight labor market, some employers are placing an increased amount of pressure on candidates to start immediately. Ironically, I am sure most of these same employers expect their own departing employees to give a full notice. Don’t forget your reputation is yours and I encourage you to handle yourself professionally in these situations. If the new company really wants you as bad as they express, then they will wait a couple of weeks to start you.

A proper notice period is a fundamental aspect of being a professional. While most individuals are in an “employment-at-will” situation, they could, in theory, leave at any time. The expectation is that the employee will provide some transitional time prior to departing. In most situations, this will be a two full weeks and can be extended to 3-4+ weeks, depending on your level in the organization.

A notice period is important to an employer for a variety of legitimate business reasons. The most obvious is it allows for an information transfer from the departing employee to others in the organization. In the beginning, this time can also be used to communicate to the staff regarding your departure and allow a time for co-workers to wish you well in your future endeavors. If an internal candidate is ready for the role, it allows time for that to occur and perhaps some handoff between the departing and incoming person. If the position will be filled externally, then it does give the company a head-start in posting the position and starting the recruiting process.

To clarify any confusion that may be out there regarding how to count your notice, you do NOT count the day you gave notice unless the resignation occurs first thing in the morning. So, giving notice at 5pm on a Monday means your notice period starts on Tuesday and goes forward from there. You should also have your resignation letter ready when you give notice. Many companies will not start your resignation until you actually have formally resigned in writing. Finally, try to give a full allotment of business days during your notice period, therefore, account for any holidays, or other days off you may have during this time.

As always, the best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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