After finally getting the courage to tell your boss that you quit, it’s tempting to spend the next two weeks doing, um, nothing. While that plan sounds tempting, it’ll only cause you more stress later down the road—and it could also (very easily) burn bridges with your co-workers.
To ensure you get great future references and make lasting connections with everyone you work with, plan to help your employer tie up loose ends so you can leave the same way you arrived—on a high note. Nine entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council provide some suggestions based on their own experiences managing employees who quit.
1. Transfer Your Knowledge
It’s tough—you never know everything an employee knows and does until they are gone. A good transition involves good knowledge transfer: training a replacement or documenting all the little things that aren’t part of the job description. One of the best things an employee can do when transitioning to a new opportunity is ensure his or her former employer is set up for continued success.
2. Make Yourself Available After You Leave
Chances are you won’t find a replacement before the employee leaves for good. And no matter how detailed he or she is in explaining the job’s role and responsibilities for the next person, there will be questions. The best thing an employee can do is offer to be available by phone or email when possible, or make time on a weekend to train their successor. Compensated for his or her time, of course.
3. Ask All Questions Before You Leave
I wish all transiting employees would resolve all their issues (and issues they anticipate having!) before they actually leave. Once an employee departs, the company is fully focused on the future. Taking others off-task with unfinished business (“I forgot to input XYZ into the system,” “I have a question about my COBRA,” or “I moved and didn’t update my address”) is a huge time suck for management.
4. Give a Little More Than Two Weeks
This isn’t always possible, but I love when an employee leaves and gives a little bit more time than two weeks. The more advance notice somebody can give, the better. I had an employee that stayed until we found a replacement, and then stayed on to train that person for a few days. This really made the process a lot easier on myself and the staff and ensured that he truly left on a positive note.
5. Update Your Handbook
For each role in our company, we have a handbook, a shared Google doc that outlines in great detail how employees carry out their roles. It’s more than a how-to guide. In fact, the handbook aims to answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how for the position. For future employees, being able to read about the strategy and how to execute on it certainly helps with any transition.
6. Give an Employee Referral
Referrals have become an effective and frequently used method for finding new qualified candidates. Before employees leave, it would be appreciated if they could refer a few great individuals for the role they are leaving, so that we are not left searching for the right employee. They could sift through their peers or past co-workers to find a great new fit for their position.
7. Get Involved in the Hiring Process
No one understands the finer details of the job better than the person who actually does it. Bringing your employees into the hiring process will help provide you and your hiring managers with some new insights into what candidate can best fill their shoes.
8. Leave With Grace and Integrity
Why burn bridges? In today’s interconnected world, it’s immature and unprofessional to leave on bad terms. Maintain positive relationships and take with you the lessons learned from your experience. Exit like a champ—with grace and integrity.
9. Give an Honest Exit Interview
An employee leaving is an opportunity to learn more about which process worked well and which didn’t. One thing that is helpful upon exit is an honest interview that creates an open dialog about seamlessly transitioning.