Dealing with employees serving their notice

A notice period is when an employee has given a written resignation letter to the organization and will be moving out of work soon. The idea of having a notice period is that it gives the organization some time to prepare for finding a replacement. Filling up a position is not about just going to the marketplace and buying a commodity that is lost or broken. It takes time and considerable effort to find someone who could fill in the shoes of the employee who is leaving on his own.

This is why organizations give themselves considerably long notice periods, usually ranging from one to two months. During this time; HR gets down to headhunting, looking for the most suitable replacement that it can find for the person on the way out. As far as this aspect is concerned; HR will go about its usual ways of finding a new employee. But what work is to be expected from the employee who has handed his resignation?

Period for hanging out

People usually leave an organization on their own because they have moved up in some or another way in their lives. Some could move on to higher positions in a new organization; some could start a business of their own, or some could leave to pursue their passion at academics or at the fine arts. A few employees leave to continue mountaineering or to sing or act. No matter for what reason they leave; one thing is certain: they are on a roll from this moment onwards.

All commitment is gone

This is quite natural, because the resignation is the pin that pricks the entire responsibility and pressure of performing day in and day out. When an employee has resigned, it is but natural that his productivity levels can be expected to plummet steeply. These employees are bound by a simple logic: why should they work hard for the organization they are never going to work again with for the rest of their lives? At one stroke, all the rules –working hours, dress code, deadline for completion of work and many more –become meaningless. Yes, they are technically still employed with the same organization, but it is as good as being inside by just one toe.

How should managers deal?

The attitudes and changes in behavior are expectedly, very less focused on work. They can be expected to put in very few hours at work and take up almost no responsibility, because they are not going to be around to see its completion. What should managers do with such employees?

There is obviously no point in being harsh with such employees. Their carefree attitude while serving their notice is not something that is condonable or right; but natural, and to be expected. Since the employee is leaving on his own volition and not being sacked; he is actually legally bound to carry out all the entrusted work. But talking from the psychological viewpoint; it is unrealistic and foolish on the part of the manager to expect full commitment.

In such cases, the manager should desist from assigning any work that is challenging and time consuming.

On the employee’s part

Despite the luxury of enjoying a short honeymoon at work; the employee, on his part, has to realize that being too laidback and casual can affect him in other ways. True, the present organization may not hold him by the collar neck to extract work out of him, but if he is moving to a new organization which asks for reference about his behavior with the present one; it could work against him.

Being professionalism helps

The best and most sensible approach would be to carry out his work normally, and leave in a decorous manner. The employee should not allow this small period to mar his prospects for the future by being too irresponsible, childish or churlish. He could work like he did all these days in the organization. This professionalism is for his own good, because maybe he will be required to come back and rejoin the same organization. Preventing any black mark in the form of negative feedback about commitment or professionalism is in his own interest.

The employee should also take care not to spread canards about the organization or colleagues because he is leaving. He could also be professional by organizing things neatly to make life easy for the next person. These are small things that matter a lot.

Odd situations

There could be some piquant situations when it comes to employees serving their notice. What if he meets with an accident during this time and is advised medical treatment or rest for a period that covers or exceeds the notice period?

At these times, HR has to intervene and see what rules apply. It will be a tough call for the manager because a situation like this is a genuine medical emergency for which no one is responsible. What HR can do is to help to an extent by speeding up the recruitment process for the replacement. It also has to go by the legal route in ensuring that the medical allowance; leave adjustment or pay that the employee is entitled to, are implemented in letter and spirit. This is important because when such an employee is deprived of what is legally due to him he is free to take the matter to court.



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