When Two Weeks’ Notice Isn’t Enough

When Two Weeks’ Notice Isn’t Enough

For organizations that derive most of their business value from their talent, the departure of a single employee can be very costly, even more so if it comes suddenly or unexpectedly. In this talent-focused business environment, the traditional practice of giving two weeks’ notice of intent to quit can leave employers with too little time to manage and prepare for an employee’s departure or begin the search for a replacement. Talent Economy associate editor Lauren Dixon highlights the different course being charted by the Chicago-based employee communication software company Jellyvision:

Jellyvision uses what it calls a “graceful leaving” policy to help both the organization prepare for open positions, as well as departing employees to have a support system for their desire to move on. When an employee begins to job hunt, considers applying to school, thinks about moving, etc., the company’s policy allows them to set up a conversation with their manager about the idea and to explore potential next steps. Managers can then provide contacts for networking and accommodate interview times — all while the employee does their work as usual. …

This policy also allows managers to better understand what the employee wants from the job, and the two can potentially make that change internally. For example, if an employee considers leaving for a managerial role, they could explore that opportunity within Jellyvision, thus retaining the worker.

Dixon hears from several experts, including our own Brian Kropp, who agree that approaches like Jellyvision’s “graceful leaving” are preferable to giving employees the cold shoulder once they announce their plans to leave. Letting employees know it’s OK to leave makes them more likely to give ample notice and even participate in training their replacement when they do, and increases the likelihood that they will return to your organization later on in their careers.

This concept fits into a broader change in the way progressive employers are thinking about their employees’ career paths, both inside and outside of the organization. Rather than waiting until their exit interview to find out why an employee was unsatisfied in their role, for example, some employers are conducting regular “stay interviews” with high-performing employees to check up on whether their career needs are being met and to nip in the bud any issues that might lead them to consider quitting later on. Our latest research on the new shape of career management (which CEB Corporate Leadership Council Members can peruse here) finds that the most successful companies are designing careers for employees around experiences rather than positions, motivating employees with employability rather than title progression, and actively marketing job openings internally to encourage employees to seek out their next experience within the same organization.