The Job Search: Leaving With Class CEO Irina Novoselsky was recently interviewed about how her organization is helping bridge Generation Z with what employers are looking for when it comes to providing professional information in the job search. She talks about helping Generation Z create a resume, highlight experience vs. only skills, and mission & purpose and the role they play in which companies Generation Z selects for employment.

There’s no doubt, with five generations in the workforce now, cultural agility is more important than ever. But does that mean we should accept a lack of integrity and character? In the Randstad 2020 US Compensation Insights survey, 50% of Generation Z and 50% of Generation Y (Millennials) ghosted an employer.

What is particularly disturbing about this survey is how cavalier Gen Z and Millennials are about ghosting. It has become perfectly acceptable to:

  • Accept an offer, then not show up for work
  • Accept an offer from another company and give the current employer no notice or transition time
  • Quit a job without any notice to their employer

It is one of the great ironies of Generations Y & Z. On the one hand, they hold companies to high levels of integrity, driving initiatives such as a moral compass & practice of sustainability, ethnic & gender diversity and having a clear purpose and mission. On the other hand, both Generations Z & Y fail in their own personal integrity by not demonstrating respect, honesty and sound moral principles in how they interact with, select and/or leave current or potential employers. Allow me to offer some fundamental guidelines:

  1. Ghosting is Not OK. Let’s get this out in the open right away. Telling someone you accept a job, then not showing up? Accepting another job and walking out of the office with no notice or transition period? Very few actions can show poorer judgement, flawed character and an immature entitlement mentality than these actions. And once your judgement, character and maturity are shown in a poor light, your colleagues will remember…so when that next job comes around and you are looking to get hired or receive a recommendation, how likely do you think you’ll be seen in a positive light?
  2. Win with Class…Leave with Class. Just like in sports where you win with class, dignity and respect, leaving a job is very much the same. No matter how much you disliked a company or a boss, how you approach the situation is a reflection on YOU. So be mature, professional and set an example as follows:
    1. Call or speak directly to your boss, in private, informing him/her that you are resigning
    2. Have a well-written resignation letter ready to hand to your boss after your conversation, or email after your call, reinforcing your resignation. This is a recap of what you discussed live, and should include a resignation date and a note thanking the company for the opportunity. There is no need to write a verse from War & Peace in the letter. Keep it simple, clear & professional.
    3. Once you and your boss are confirmed on your last date of employment, confirm with him/her the specific actions you will accomplish before your departure. I recommend you do this in writing (email is fine).
    4. If you are a leader of a team, speak to your team members individually about your resignation. How much detail you share on the rationale is up to you, but I strongly urge you not to disparage the company.
    5. Create a transition plan, delegating projects or initiatives to team members and informing them on which items they will have to assume upon your departure. This is a document you will leave with your boss.
    6. One week before you are scheduled to leave, meet with HR to confirm transition and exit steps so there is not confusion or a last minute rush.
    7. On your last day, feel free to share contact information and good wishes with colleagues, but stay positive and do not disparage the company. Turn in all your company assets (computer, keycard, phone, etc) and leave your workstation clean and organized.
  3. Counter Offer Counsel. As employees, we are essentially “free agents” unless you are working under a specific contract. So, interviewing and receiving an offer is perfectly acceptable, however, the next step is very important. If you really are ready to leave, then start with point #1 above and move on. However, if you would prefer to stay at your current company but are intrigued by more money, a bigger title, more responsibility or a global role at another company, schedule a private meeting with your boss and discuss the opportunity you are considering and what you need to encourage you to stay. Give your boss 48 hours to receive your feedback and decide how s/he or the company will respond. Then, based on that response, it’s your call on which way you proceed. Remember, you’re negotiating at this point so be clear on your mandatory requirements vs. “nice to have” options. Giving your current organization an opportunity to counter offer, if you are serious about staying, is just another way to approach the job market with class and respect.