Time comes when you have to exit an organisation. There is a graceful and proper way to do this. There is no need to burn bridges.

You must give notice in writing that you are leaving. Your contract stipulates the form and period of notice. Once you issue notice, ensure that you keep a copy of the notice as evidence. Notice provides your employer adequate time to prepare for when you exit and find a suitable replacement. If you do not give proper notice, you will be in breach of contract and the employer could take action against you, including requiring that you pay compensation for the period during which they would have expected you to stay with them as notice period.

During the notice period, start documenting any company activities and materials that you may be involved in. This will help them transition after you leave and help you with your future reference.

  • Provide a list of all projects that you are working on and document their current state and progress.
  • List down all company property, including hardware or software that you have access to or use on a day-to-day basis, such as monitors, phones, laptops.
  • List down all company materials, including contact details of people outside of the organisation who have been in touch with you for work, any customer details.
  • List down any other activities, processes and procedures that you are involved in so that others can take these over when you leave

Be prepared to handle exit interview questions: The exit interview is a tough conversation to have at the best of times, but your company may want to know about your experience. Before you say goodbye for good, the organisation will want to ask you a few questions about your experience working there. Here are some of the most common questions that should prepare you for how you are going to answer.

  • Why are you leaving? This is the most common question asked in an exit interview and it can be quite nerve-wracking to answer if you are leaving on bad terms. It’s important to stay positive and honest when answering this kind of question.
  • What did we do well? Be sure to think of something good that came out of your time with them even if it was just learning a new skill so that they know there were still some positives gained from hiring and working with someone like yourself. If there’s anything specific that comes up, don’t forget to mention it.
  • What didn’t we do well?  If something went wrong during your time at this organisation, then let them know so they can improve their workplace culture or training programs. In order to avoid similar situations happening again later on down the line with other employees who come after you.

Note all company property and identify what you need to pack up. Make sure you read the section in your employee handbook regarding company property. If you have questions, ask your manager. Make a list of all company property that you use and reference this list throughout the exit process. You will want to go through each item and determine what is company owned and whether it needs to be returned. You will also want to consider how you will pack up these items for return so that they are not damaged or lost during transit. It is important to return everything that belongs to the organisation.

Avoid talking about the company negatively after you have left. You may have a powerful urge to talk about the things that you hated, but it’s important to keep in mind that your employer will not take to this. In most cases, you have signed some sort of agreement preventing you from talking about specific aspects of the job, or even giving out confidential information about your former employer. This is pretty standard practice at many companies, so make sure that you read your contract and understand what’s expected of you before going off on a rant. Badmouthing an employer can also be disastrous if they are in the same industry as yourself. Even after you move on and get another job, people will still remember what you say could end up hurting your chances of getting another job down the road.

Make a good impression when you are leaving the organisation. Before leaving the office on your last day of work, make sure there are no unfinished projects on your desk and all emails have been answered or forwarded to someone who can handle them while you are gone. You also want to tie up any loose ends by saying goodbye to colleagues and thanking them for working with you over the years.

Hold off on right to sue letter: If the company sends you a letter that asks you to pay back any compensation or bonuses, do not sign it. You should speak with an attorney before signing anything like this. It is possible that a company will use this language when they have no intention of making you pay back any money, but it is still important not to sign anything unless you are certain about what it means for your situation. We could consider this part of an agreement that prevents you from working for another employer.