Congratulations on being offered your new position.  Now comes the daunting task of handing in your notice.

Sometimes this stage can be more harrowing than the interview – especially if you’ve been with your present company for a long time.


Once you’ve received your offer letter from your new company, you need to prepare to hand in your notice.

Try not to feel guilty about resigning – remember the reasons why you decided to leave.  It’s likely those reasons are not going to change.

  • Write a letter of resignation. Keep this short and concise and include the notice period you will serve and any pay outstanding (including holiday pay, bonuses and expenses or commission owing) and when you understand you will receive it.
  • Arrange a meeting with your manager as soon as possible.Don’t let time drag. Your new company is keen for you to join them. If there is nowhere very private at your place of work, suggest having a coffee somewhere or meeting after hours.
  • Prepare what you are going to say and don’t forget to take your letter of resignation. Don’t leave it on your desk for your boss or another colleague to find and don’t give it to him/her and go back to your desk! This is one letter that will need to be discussed.

The Meeting

Remember companies are often shocked and upset to lose a good member of staff and they can be caught unaware when you hand in your notice. Therefore you must keep the meeting professional and show your appreciation for your time spent with the company. Agree your leaving date and the date you will be paid for outstanding wages, etc. Don’t forget to ask for a written reference.

The meeting should be very straightforward, especially if you show from the start that your mind is made up.  If you show any doubt about your decision, it will be picked up on.

The following outlines some company ‘tactics’ that you should be aware of:

  • The “Counter Offer” – Some companies have been known to respond to resignations by matching or exceeding your new salary package. If you have gone through the recruitment process in the hope that you may get a counter offer (since a colleague did, for example), then you are playing a very dangerous game. The company is aware of your unrest and dishonesty in going to an interview and whilst the offer may appear attractive, it may affect any future pay rises, promotional prospects and training opportunities. Alexander Lloyd have found that 86% of people who accept counter offers still leave within six months of deciding to stay at their present company – read our blog on the facts!
  • Bad Mouthing – Some companies are desperate not to lose staff. If you hear of a worrying piece of information about your new company, PLEASE call your new company or Alexander Lloyd to dispel the rumour.
  • Emotional Blackmail – A great deal of pressure can be placed upon individuals by companies to get employees to stay, since it is very costly and time consuming replacing valued members of staff. Often if the resignation meeting hasn’t gone well, we have heard reports of the following: threats not to pay wages or a bonus already earned, threats to give a bad reference, threats of loss of entitlements to a prize you’ve won or discounted holidays already booked and many other nastiness. There are employment laws protecting your rights. Try to recognise these threats for what they are – just threats. However, always seek advice.
  • Peer Group Pressure – Companies are not the only ones sad to lose good members of staff. Colleagues are often distressed and disorientated at a team member leaving and will try many levels of persuasion to get you to stay, often so they can be happy. When you have been with a company a long time this can be difficult, as you have been very used to the way things are run and have probably earned a lot of respect. However, all good things must come to an end and there is nothing to stop you keeping in touch with your colleagues socially.
  • Magic Promotion – This is often produced ‘out of a hat’. Again, your company does not want to lose you and whilst the offer of promotion is no doubt sincere, do you really have to hand in you notice before your efforts are rewarded? Ensure you explore the real reasons why you want to leave and ask yourself: “Has anything really changed?” If it hasn’t, then graciously turn down the opportunity.
  • Shown the Door – This can often happen in a sales environment or where there is a high level of confidentiality entrusted. Some companies feel that making an employee work their notice can upset the rest of the workforce, as he/she is demotivated and will probably not be as productive. Don’t feel that you have been dumped or rejected, it is probably for the best, since you can now join your new company much sooner.

Above All

If you have any serious doubts about whether you are ‘doing the right thing, PLEASE talk to us. Moving to a new company challenging and exciting, but can still feel daunting. Just remember your new company will be counting on you joining. They may also like to hear from you from time to time to feel confident that everything is going to plan.

We have a selection of HR Advisor Jobs and Recruitment Jobs, plese use the search facility to find the right position for you or contact Alexander Lloyd, Human Resources Recruitment specialist for more information.

Your Rights

You will want to leave your company on amicable and ideally positive terms, but how do you know when you have an employment contract that is unreasonable or you risk losing your new job because of fears of bad references? The information below serves as a guideline only. If you have an unreconcilable dispute, please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or a Solicitor for further advice.

  • Notice Period – Statutory notice is set at one week for every year of employment, to a maximum of 12 weeks (for 12 years’ service). If you have signed a contract for a longer period than this, you are entitled to renegotiate to a more reasonable length – this is best approached in the resignation meeting.  Some people prefer to shorten their notice by deducting outstanding holidays owed from the period.  Don’t work longer than you have to. Temps have NO notice period, they can leave immediately.
  • Bad Reference – No company should give you a bad or non-factual reference even if you leave on bad terms. Anyone who writes untruths leaves themselves wide open to be sued for ‘defamation of character’.
  • No Pay – Getting your last month’s wages and entitlements from some past employers can be like pulling teeth. Whilst most settle without a hitch, there are some companies who raise disputes. Any wages owed to you are covered under the Wages Act 1986. As a last resort, if phoning the company daily hasn’t worked; you can make a very simple claim in the County Court under the Act without the need of a solicitor. Simply call your local court for the form and information.