Resignation Checklist: To Do’s and Don’ts for a Smooth Transition

Arun was working at XYZ Corporation, an Indian IT consulting and service firm. This was his employment after his graduation in computer science engineering and was a campus recruit. Having completed 3 years at XYZ Corporation, Arun decided to explore opportunities outside and got an offer from another IT major within 3 months. He was offered a hike of 70% and a higher designation than his current employer.

Arun met his manager and formally informed him of his decision to resign from the services of XYZ Corporation and updated his resignation in the HR portal and also emailed the same. Since Arun was a seasoned performer, his manager tried her best to retain him by discussing with her higher-ups his expectations on compensation and promotion but was unable to. She informed Arun of the same and also started identifying a replacement candidate for Arun in the project. Arun helped the new joiner to the team with his detailed Knowledge Transfer (KT) session and handholding until his Last Working Day while serving his notice period which is 3 months in his organization.

During his last week at XYZ Corporation, Arun reviewed his official company laptop folders and identified documents that he felt were required after his exit from the company. He created a separate folder and took a copy of his appraisal letters, monthly pay slips, appreciation certificates, a few email IDs of important contacts, and also a text file with snippets of programming code. Finally, he zipped the folder and sent it from his company email to his personal email. On his Last Working Day, he submitted all his company assets including his laptop, and was awaiting the issue of relieving letter from the exit management team of XYZ Corporation. He received a call from the exit management team on the next day and to his utter shock, he was informed that his Relieving Letter had been kept on hold by the company pending investigation into an information security violation incident on his part. He was invited for an online meeting with the HR Manager, the Information Security team, and the legal team at XYZ Corporation. Meanwhile, his next employer refused to onboard him for want of the Relieving Letter from XYZ Corporation.

During the online meeting, he came to know that the Information Security team at XYZ Corporation had found that the text file that he sent to his personal email ID during his last week contained snippets of code that were considered confidential and proprietary information belonging to XYZ Corporation. Arun was surprised at this and tried to reason that the programming code that he had copied in his text file was written by him while working on a customer project during his tenure at XYZ Corporation. The Information Security team countered that he had signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement which clearly states that the content created by employees during their tenure at XYZ Corporation is considered confidential and proprietary information belonging to XYZ Corporation.

Arun soon realized his mistake and cursed himself for not applying his learnings from the Information Security Awareness training that he underwent every year at XYZ Corporation. Arun acknowledged his mistake, clarified that this was done unintentionally, and cooperated with the XYZ Corporation team in deleting the email trail from his personal email inbox. Finally, Arun got his Relieving Letter after he submitted an indemnity bond assuming full responsibility for liabilities that may arise out of the information security violation as mandated by XYZ Corporation. With a sigh of relief, he joined his next company after a delay of two weeks which was kept on hold for want of Relieving Letter.

Arun’s experience at XYZ Corporation provides valuable insights into the proper steps to take when resigning from a company. Whether you’re an experienced professional like Arun or a recent graduate, understanding the do’s and don’ts during your resignation process can greatly impact your career trajectory. To ensure a seamless transition and maintain your professional reputation, follow this comprehensive checklist:

Resignation Checklist: Important Do’s

  1. Inform your manager: Schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss your decision before you send out an email or update your resignation in the HR portal. This will give an opportunity for your manager to explore potential options to retain, be it compensation, project/role change, or promotion.
  2. Review HR Guidelines: Examine your appointment letter and relevant HR documentation to understand the notice period, leave policy during the notice period, and any obligations tied to benefits like bonuses, training reimbursements, or overseas assignments.
  3. Gather Essential Documents:
    1. Pay Slips: Collect pay slips for all months of your employment.
    1. Appraisal Letters: Secure copies of your appraisal and increment letters.
    1. Certificates: Preserve digital certificates of appreciation or awards.
    1. Personal Documents: Transfer personal documents from your official laptop to a personal device.
  4. Contact Details: Ensure you have contact information for key individuals, including the exit management team, HR manager, reporting manager, and colleagues. This makes communication smoother during and after your transition.
  5. Roles and Responsibilities Letter: Verify whether your Experience and Relieving Letters will include details of your roles and responsibilities. If not, request a separate letter outlining these responsibilities, as it may be required for future endeavors like visa applications or higher education.
  6. Update Personal Details: Review and update your personal contact details, such as email address, mobile number, and residential address, in the company’s HR portal. This ensures future correspondence reaches you correctly.
  7. LinkedIn Recommendations: Request endorsements from your managers and colleagues on LinkedIn, reciprocating the gesture if possible.
  8. Asset Submission: As your tenure concludes, return all company assets, such as your laptop, ID card, and other equipment. This facilitates the processing of your Relieving Letter, Experience Letter, and final settlements.
  9. Farewell Email: Express your gratitude to the organization, managers, and colleagues through a heartfelt farewell email. While farewell meetings are impactful, an email serves as a lasting token of appreciation.

Resignation Checklist: Important Don’ts

  1. Confidential Documents: Under no circumstances should you copy or retain documents, files, or proprietary information that belong to the company. Even if you played a role in creating them, ownership remains with the organization. Seek permission from your manager and HR if unsure.
  2. Notice Period: While recruiters from your next employer might incentivize early joining or notice period buyouts, adhere to your current company’s notice period policy. This demonstrates professionalism and allows for a smooth transition.

Final Thoughts

Resigning from a company, as Arun’s experience highlights, requires careful consideration and adherence to ethical and professional standards. By following the do’s and don’ts outlined in this checklist, you can ensure a respectful departure, maintain your reputation, and set a positive tone for your future career endeavors. Remember, your actions during this transition can shape your professional legacy and relationships within the industry.

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