No More Notice?

No More Notice?

Is the old school two weeks notice dead? Are more people saying, “See ya later, bye” instead of tendering a resignation?

Key topics:

✔️ Open, honest communication only works if employees do not feel threatened. Can you truly say that your company can accept criticism or feedback without retaliation?
✔️ Now that so many people are WFH, the furtive cloak-and-dagger of faking dental appointments and car trouble aren’t necessary anymore. People can easily attend a phone interview at lunch or before/after work.
✔️ Employment is more transitory now than it has been for several decades. There’s no 30 year career at one place with a gold watch and pension at the end. So why is there still a stigma about resigning?

Links I discuss in this episode:

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Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!

Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. So today I want to talk about the good old fashioned two week notice, even before the pandemic, and even before the great resignation, there were stirrings on the interwebs. About whether or not the good old fashioned two week notice was too old fashioned? Has it fallen out of favor? Is it still something that employees should do and that employers should expect? Or is it just a relic from a bygone era? Naturally, the great resignation and the pandemic and the more transitory nature of work itself, as well as the mobility of work, the fact that we can do work in so many different places and times has even amplified the question further, should people still be doing the two week notice? Or is that something that we need to let go of? Back in April of 2019. So this is almost a year before the shutdowns and our knowledge of the COVID pandemic happened. There was an article published in the Harvard Business Review titled, The Two Weeks Notice approach to changing jobs is bad for companies and employees by Robert Glazer. Naturally, I will drop a link to this article in the write up for this episode so that you can check it out for yourself. At the top of this article, there’s a summary which I will read to you now. The practice of giving two weeks notice when leaving a job is outdated and inefficient, and can be a contentious and expensive problem for companies. While the job hopping trend may be difficult to stop, there is a less frustrating approach employers can implement that can not only decrease turnover, but also lead to mutually beneficial solutions when an employee decides to leave. It’s called a mindful transition. And it entails creating a culture that encourages open and honest discussions between the employer and employee about happiness on the job without any fear of retribution reprisal, or of being escorted out the door. If someone is forthcoming about being unhappy, managers are trained to spot and diagnose early signs of unhappiness or disengagement. When someone decides to move on, there is an open transition period that allows the employee to begin the search for their new job while remaining employed. During this time, the employee agrees not to give a two week notice. And employers don’t ask them to leave right away except for in extraordinary cases. For a mindful transition program to be successful. However, a company’s culture needs to have a strong foundation built on trust, psychology, safety, transparency, open communication and respect and quote, hmm, so just thinking out loud here, how many companies have you worked in? Or have you been in? Or maybe you’re an HR Talent Acquisition Manager listening to this podcast right now? Are you in a company that you can honestly say, is a psychologically safe place? It’s trustworthy, there’s a good level of transparency, people can be honest and forthcoming without any fear of punishment or of getting shoved out the door. Hmm, I think we have to really be honest with ourselves about whether or not that’s the case in a lot of companies. I mean, I remember a job that I worked where the manager told me point blank, your reward for coming here is your paycheck, and your paycheck should be enough to sustain you. And it’s like, Hmm, you know, for me is the Gen X are hearing it, it soured my stomach. But I think a lot of millennials and Gen Zers, if they were sat down and told your reward is your paycheck, you know, that ought to be enough to sustain you though and make you happy enough in life, they would probably there bust out laughing or just immediately pick up their stuff and leave. And I don’t blame them. It’s kind of like companies that say they celebrate diversity. But then when you look at a picture of everyone in the company, it’s all White, Anglo Saxon, Protestant, straight males. And it’s like, Oh, of course you celebrate diversity. It’s so very clear. So just simply paying lip service to the idea of, hey, we’re open and honest here. You can be clear about what you want. You can report problems. You can tell us the truth and nobody’s going to lash out against you. If all it is is hot air, your employees are going to know that and it really increases the odds of somebody saying peace out I’m gone and not giving you any kind of notice at all. They’ll just walk and if you think this is something that’s solely happening because of COVID. Or it’s solely happening because of the great resignation. That’s not a complete picture either. Going all the way back to February of 2015, there was an article in Forbes called No More Two Weeks Notice how to end the employee disappearing act. And naturally, I will also drop a link to that article as well so that you can read it for yourself. That article was also written by Robert Glazer. And I’ll read the first paragraph for you here. When an employee is unhappy, there are usually a few telltale signs, dental appointments, sudden illnesses and car trouble become more frequent. As the employee sneaks off to job interviews, the time he used to spend working on company projects is now devoted to overhauling his LinkedIn profile and quote. So one thing that we can say is that because so much more work is happening remotely, and it may or may not be happening during the so called core business hours of Monday through Friday, from eight to five, it has reduced this need of having to use your sick leave or your PTO, and be secretive and furtive about what you’re doing. And as much easier if you’re a job seeker to utilize your lunch hour or time before or after you’re going to work to attend telephone interviews or video interviews. And to not have that, Oh, I’m scared, I’m going to get caught, someone’s going to see me someone’s going to tattle on me, I have to fake a series of eight different root canals in one month, just so I can go on job interviews. So mean, working remotely has definitely eliminated this need of trying to beat cloak and dagger and hide what you’re doing. And I think it kind of shines a light on the idea of well, why is that so stigmatized, anyway? I mean, seriously, let’s think about that. A couple of weeks back, I wrote a blog post to sort of poke at this question of whether Gen Z is resigning due to a lack of mentoring. There was an article in Time called what your Gen Z colleagues wish you knew. And yes, I’ll drop a link to it. So you can check it out as well. But the article really presses on this idea of a lack of mentoring and lack of access to more seasoned employees being a reason why Gen Z wants to either quit or switch jobs in large numbers. And as I was reading that, I thought, I think that that may be a sliver of the pie, but it’s certainly not the whole pie. And kind of coming at it from a data analytics perspective. And being a self proclaimed data geek. I’m thinking about one of the first things that you learn in statistics, which is correlation does not imply causation. And I think we have to be careful sometimes of taking one person’s experience or one article that we read and going okay, well, this must be the whole picture. Well, I don’t think so. There was also an article from the New York Times, I’ll drop a link to it as well called the age of anti ambition. And the byline of that article I find really interesting. And it reads, When 25 million people leave their jobs, it’s about more than just burnout and quote, yeah, it is. And I also think it’s about more than just lack of access to people in person or a lack of mentoring. I look, you know, I’m not afraid of making bold statements and bold predictions. To me. That thesis really reads like, let’s come on back to the office propaganda. It’s it’s essentially like saying, Well, look, these people are suffering because they’re not in the office. Meanwhile, there were articles published not long ago, saying Gen Z, like the most recent graduates have never been in an office and don’t want to go. So it seems like the media has a tendency to talk out of both sides of their mouth. So it’s like, okay, but but which is it? Is it Gen Z has never been in an office and they don’t want to go, they don’t feel like they’re missing out on anything. They’ve debunked the myth, and they see that the emperor has no clothes on? Or is it that they’re dying to get back to the office because they feel isolated and alone, working from home? I mean, it’s just one of those things where it’s too contradictory for both things to be true at the same time. So I think there’s an interesting part, also in that New York Times article, and this is something that I called out in my blog post. I’ll read it for you. Now, if the tight labor market is giving low wage workers a taste of upward mobility, a lot of office workers or office in quotes these days, seem to be thinking about our jobs, more like the way many working class people have forever as just a job, a paycheck to take care of the bills, not the sum total of us, not an identity and quote, yeah. Now I think we’re getting much more toward the root cause of the changes that are happening in this country. And my European friends have always sort of marveled at the American worker, working and putting so much of your identity into the job that you do, claiming that your co workers are friends and family and then sacking out on the couch to just watch TV and veg out until you have to go back to work again, not really cultivating outside interests, outside hobbies, outside friends, people that have nothing to do with your workplace. And I think Americans are finally starting to catch up to that same mentality. And one of the things that I suggest in my blog post is make it easy to leave. And I know I understand that sounds counterintuitive. But sometimes an open door is actually a motivation to stay. Knowing that you could leave without fear of reprisals without that company running a smear campaign against you and saying, Well, we’ll never give you a good reference. If anyone calls here we’ll say something negative, if you are handling your hiring, as well as your that the time that the employee is actually there as a worker, and then the time that they resign and move on if you are handling everything from start to finish in a more humane, dignified way, then you in turn, invite more humane and dignified treatment in return. You also want to create a work environment where employees feel comfortable being able to ask questions and you want to make sure that your onboarding process doesn’t suck. People need to know what’s relevant to their job. Instead of having a welcome package with a bunch of ink pins and a company water bottle in it. You want to really make sure that your employees have what they need. In order to be successful. The swag is not nearly as important to somebody as knowing how to actually do the job well. Going back to December of 2018, there was an article that appeared in The Washington Post. Also, of course, I’ll drop a link to it. The article is titled these workers quit their jobs without Two Weeks Notice, here’s what they did instead. And it is interesting again, that we’re going all the way back to 2018. So we’re not talking about something that’s going on during COVID. We’re not talking about something that’s going on during the Great resignation. I want to read a little bit for you here. Once taken for granted as a professional courtesy. The two weeks notice standard is losing relevance in an economy where practically everyone is hiring analysts say more jobs are open in the United States right now than there are people looking for work. The nation’s unemployment rate has clung to a 49 year low since since September, prompting many firms to raise wages and expand recruitment efforts, workers have less incentive to respect the old Norm said David Lewis, Chief Executive operations Inc, a National Human Resources consulting firm. Over the past year, he has seen a 20% upswing in employees departing less than two weeks after they give notice, and quote, something that I find interesting there is this idea of letting go of old norms. And I think we’re going to see more of that. Whenever we sort of get to a point. Whatever happens next, after the great resignation, we’re still kind of in this period of the unknown, but for sure the landscape and the language of work are changed. And I think generationally, a lot of things that people have older generations, especially I’m thinking of like my great grandparents, grandparents and parents, things that they were willing to do or willing to sort of, quote put up with, in order to get money. Younger generations are looking at it going no, just No, I’m not going to trade the prime years of my life, hoping that maybe in the sweet by, I’ll get a reward for it. And I think challenging these norms, including something like the two week notice, or trying to stay somewhere, even if they want you to eat a dirt sandwich every day, staying there for the next 30 years, hoping that they’ll pay for your benefits and give you the gold watch at retirement time. The world is just way too different for that. And at some companies, if the environment is so bad, and so toxic and abusive, that a person feels like the only way that they can stay sane is to just get up one day and say you know what, I’m done. I’m out. I’m not going to take this anymore. I’m saying bye bye. And don’t call me again. I get it. I really do. And I think it’s the onus is going to be on companies, management teams, executives, those of us involved in HR talent acquisition, to really spearhead an effort towards making people feel valued and heard. The old school dynamic, the old school notion that the company is God and your manager is God and you have to just eat dirt and crawl. You know, thinking of the biblical parable about crawling through the dust on your belly. People are not going to do that anymore. And so I think naturally, we also have to revamp the resignation process and we have to take the stigma out of am I going to get punished if I resign? If I give now Get a feedback about what’s going on in my department, are they going to punish me for it? The more that we can really foster that open communication and take away this culture of punishment, culture of fear, acting like Captain Bligh, on the Bounty, you’re going to get punished severely, and I’m going to inflict cruelty on you. If you disagree with me, we have to purge that out of the workplace. There was never really a justifiable reason for it before. And they’re sure as hell is not a justifiable reason for it now. So in the next episode, I will talk about things like open transition programs, so that companies and employees alike can have an alternative, potentially to the old school two week notice, right, there has to be some kind of middle ground between two or three week notice, versus just up and quitting and saying peace out. I’m done. I’ll see you in the next episode. We hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you haven’t already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.

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