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How often have you come to work to find a letter of resignation on your desk? The initial feeling of loss turns to disappointment and hurt when you realize the employee is not providing two weeks notice. This lack of professionalism is becoming more common in the workplace, sometimes even encouraged by the employers. It may be years before employers realize the consequences.
The use of a two-week notice has long been a courtesy of the employees when tendering a resignation. This display of professionalism is mostly for the benefit of the employer. It allows her or him to make timely adjustments in staffing and services to account for the transition.

However, some employers have abused this courtesy by immediately severing the relationship and not paying out the two-week notice. States vary on how they treat this. Some deem that a two-week notice is like quitting a job instead of a discharge, which can leave the individual ineligible for benefits. Others states may penalize the employer who does not pay out the two weeks.
However, many employees give little or no notice for fear they will be terminated immediately. The right corporate culture can allay these fears.

It Starts With Hiring

If you hire someone who did not give her previous employer a proper notice, what makes you think she won’t do the same to you? What comes around goes around. It amazes me how many practices, in their haste to fill a spot, will push a new hire to come on board immediately. This is very shortsighted. If the applicant is willing to disregard proper employment protocol, she may be willing to disregard your other office protocols. You have sent the message before day one that rules and common courtesies don’t matter in your practice.
Once an applicant get an offer of employment, it needs to be made known and written down in your personnel manual: That a two-week notice is mandatory to receive full benefits upon separation from the practice, and that the two weeks need to be actually worked, not fulfilled by using up vacation time or personal days, unless the employer waives that requirement.
In addition, once the employee gives notice, she should stop accruing benefits. This documentation reinforces the belief that the practice has a consistent policy of professional transitioning of employment.

When employment separation does occur, the employer must display the same professionalism he expects of the departing employee. If a staff member gives two weeks notice but you do not wish to retain her for that period, it is best to pay out the benefits as if the notice had been worked out. This let your staff know they won’t be penalized for providing notice.

The Employee’s Role

So, what’s in it for an employee to give a two-week notice besides retaining benefits? An employee needs to realize jobs may come and go, but one’s resume is forever. If she leaves in a professional manner, it keeps the door open for possible future reemployment or good letters of recommendation. Many practices make an employee ineligible for rehire if she does not give a two-week notice for regular staff and four-week notice for management positions. This may appear insignificant the because employee is leaving of her own accord, but i may come back to haunt her in the future. Most human resources managers will ask a former employer if an applicant is eligible for rehire.
Employees will come and go. It’s a fact of life. If you set the appropriate expectations and treat all your staff with consistent professionalism, you are more likely to have less staff turnover, and those who do leave are less likely to rant disparagingly about a poorly handled separation. Separations are never easy, but both parties can do so amicably, and even leave the door open for a happy reunion, if written policies are in place and strictly followed. OM

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