There is so much to look forward to when starting a new healthcare role. However, before getting too ahead of yourself, it’s crucial to execute a professional resignation. As stated by a Harvard Business Review writer, “The trouble is that people tend to spend a lot of time preparing for and strategizing about their first impressions, and rarely give much thought to their last ones.” Formal resignations can be tricky to navigate, as you want to ensure a smooth and unoffending transition for everyone.
If you have been thinking about handing in your resignation, you’re not alone. A recent study found that one third of all employees are planning to leave their current positions within the next year for professional growth. There are ways to make these difficult conversations easier, and to make sure your boss will be on your good side after you leave.
If you are planning on resigning from your current healthcare role, be sure to follow these 8 tips to make your exit as graceful as possible:
Do Not Discuss Your Job Search or New Offer until Signed
It may be very tempting to share your exciting news about your job search or a potential new offer with a close friend who is also a co-worker. Don’t. If word leaks and the new offer doesn’t materialize, you may find yourself in a very awkward position at your current job.
Sign Your New Offer Before Resigning from Your Current Position
Employers have the authority to withdraw job offers for various reasons before both parties sign the official onboarding documents. You don’t want to wind up in a situation where you have already gone through the resignation process with your current employer, only for your offer to fall through.
To avoid this situation, make sure you have everything finalized with your new job before taking the steps to resign from your old one. This includes signing your employment agreement (and, wherever possible, having your new employer sign it as well so you have a fully executed contract). This agreement should have at a minimum the compensation details and start date clearly stated. Take care that you have everything in writing. As excited as you are to start a new position, it’s important to be organized and secure in your future employment.
Determine Your ‘Story’
There may be a variety of reasons why you’ve decided to move on to a new position. However, this does not mean that you’re required to disclose each reason to your former employer. At the same time, whatever you decide to share should remain consistent among everybody who hears it. Your official line should be to the tune of “it’s nothing personal” – even if it is. In all work places, there is an opportunity for gossip. One of the worst things you can do leading up to a resignation is to get caught up in negative rumors.
Tell Your Superiors First
We understand how tempting it can be to tell your work friends about your exciting new healthcare job opportunity. It’s certainly easier, and more tempting, to discuss your resignation with someone who isn’t going to have to deal with replacing you. In any event, be sure to refrain from telling anyone else about your resignation until you have told your employer. At the end of the day, remaining professional comes first.
Also, you want to avoid the possibility of your boss finding out about your departure from somebody else. This will hurt your chances of receiving a great reference.
Treat It Like Ending Any Other Relationship
While your resignation must be handled professionally, try to approach the process like you would any other relationship. Taking the emotional aspect of the process into consideration will facilitate a successful departure. For example, it’s important to incorporate empathy in your resignation. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes and offer them any help you can. They will appreciate your understanding the predicament they are in because of your leaving.
Although it may feel easier to resign over the phone or via email, take a deep breath and make a point to have the conversation in person (along with a written letter of resignation). This is critical. Just as it’s perceived poorly to break up with your significant other via text message, it’s also in bad taste to do this to your boss. Remain confident that you want to leave for the right reasons. Be honest, considerate and straightforward in your resignation.
Help Out Up Until the Last Minute
After you have resigned, you have one final responsibility: “to engender an orderly and positive transition”. Do anything you can to make sure you are remembered as a reliable employee. Even with one foot out the door, try to remain dedicated up until the very last hour. Make sure that all of your responsibilities will be taken care of up until the point your replacement is trained. Leave your work organized and easy to access when you’re gone.
Giving your employer two weeks notice before leaving is the generally agreed upon professional courtesy. However, this may differ among healthcare facilities – take the time to understand the protocol with your specific employer. Then, if you are able to give them more than the minimum notice without affecting your new placement, do so. It will certainly be appreciated. If your employer doesn’t need the extra time, you will still look good for offering.
Lastly, if you have the time before starting your new job, offer to help train your replacement. If you are a direct caregiver with patients, you have to make sure that they’re all taken care of. It’s important that the transition to a new healthcare professional is a comfortable one. If you are in charge of any medical documents, ensure that someone else can access them.
End the Relationship on A Positive Note
There is no good reason to leave any job on bad terms, especially with your boss. Even if there are personal issues that may have pushed you towards resignation, leave them aside. This will be to your benefit in the long run. Leaving on good terms means your employer will be more likely to give you a good reference for a position in the future. Even if you don’t feel like you need a reference from them now, it’s always possible that your situation will change. Healthcare is a surprisingly small world, so you want to make sure there are no hard feelings left with anyone that could negatively impact your career down the line.
After formally resigning face-to-face, you can craft a follow-up email to send to your boss. It should outline the details of your resignation, but you can also thank them for everything they have done for you over the years and how you will miss working on their team. Flattery goes a long way to soften awkward conversations.
Stay in Touch
If your new job allows it, check-in with old colleagues from time-to-time to see how the facility is doing. At the very least, keep in contact via social media or email with someone of importance from your previous position. You probably spent a considerable amount of time with these people, so don’t just disappear into thin air after you leave.
In addition, refrain from saying anything negative about your past employer online, or anywhere that could make its way back to them. According to Forbes, “off-the-cuff remarks or jabs made on social media are sometimes all it takes to burn a potentially important bridge.”
Do you have any other tips for making a graceful resignation? Join the conversation on LinkedIn or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.