Thursday, November 8, 2012

Exiting an Organization Gracefully

Exiting an organization gracefully without burning the bridges is not only important for an employee's career but also the desired and expected professional behavior as well as a sign of maturity of the exiting employee. However, there are many instances of employees not respecting the golden rule that bridges should never be burnt while exiting.

What are the typical characteristics of situations where exits are not graceful. And what are the typical behaviors demonstrated by employees whose exit is not gracefully handled by them. Following are some thoughts on exits that are not graceful.
  • Exiting employee doesn't proactively prepare the transition plan and needs push from the manager to prepare and share it. In certain cases the manager has to lay down the first cut of the transition plan
  • Exiting employee starts pushing activities to other team members and especially those who will take over after their exit in an unusual hurry
  • Exiting employee detaches himself from the concerns of the organization and lowers productivity and contribution level (even though he or she is a part of the organization until the last working day and is being paid the full salary until then)
  • Exiting employee is in a hurry to leave and not willing to serve the full notice period
  • Exiting employee focuses on completing those activities that are of personal benefit to him or her like completing a certification and even though allowed to do so doesn't care about the organization's needs and concerns regarding completing the transition activities
  • Exiting employee is not flexible to adjust if the transition plan is changed to ensure the transition does indeed get completed
  • Exiting employee expects to be given leave (as a matter of right) for festivals and family functions but is not positive if told that the leave days will be adjusted in the notice period by extending it
  • Exiting employee spoils the goodwill created until then by pressurizing other team members to facilitate his or her exit without understanding the tough situation the organization might be in and in fact putting the organization in a tight spot
  • Exiting employee declines the courtesy extended to him of a farewell lunch (despite all of the above) 
What is amazing is that this happens even in cases where the employee has more than 3-5 years of experience and is expected to be mature and professional. Such exiting employees forget some basic points such as the follows.
  • The exiting employee may be forced to serve the full notice period and leave, if any granted, adjusted to the notice period by extending it
  • The relieving may become turbulent for the exiting employe
  • The reference of the exiting employee may be adversely impacted
  • The current manager and team the exiting employee is working may form an opinion about that employee being unprofessional and immature
  • The attitude demonstrated by the exiting employee in such situations may be a strong indicator that the employee will not be able to go higher up in the career

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