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Two Weeks’ Notice

Have you ever given your “two weeks’ notice”?

Isn’t it interesting that nearly everyone recognizes the phrase “two weeks’ notice” to mean they are quitting their current job and moving on to a new job?

What is significant about “two weeks”?

Current Practice

Small business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as most employers, have seen their share of two weeks’ notices.  Recent statistics show that millennials quit their jobs nearly two times as often as non-millennials with comparable tenure (34.5% compared to 19.4%).

So, if it feels like people are quitting your organization at a faster rate than before, you are probably right.

Somehow, we have developed this inefficient, mostly American, non-legally binding practice of an employee, as part of resigning their position with an employer, to tell their current employer they will “graciously” work for two more weeks before not showing up to work anymore.

Of course, this is only for employees who do not have employment contracts that spell out specific detail about how the employee and the business separate ways.

Granted, having the employee work a short amount of time after they have given their notice to quit makes sense for both the employee and the employer in some instances.  But not in all instances.

The Employee’s Perspective.

The primary benefit to the employee in offering to work a short amount of time is to avoid burning the bridges they have cultivated while at their current job.  We all know these friendships to be eternally beneficial over one’s career.

Additionally, this gives the now-departing employee time to say goodbye, and to pass on specific details about their job to the person who will eventually cover their responsibilities.  In that way the job is not left with any loose ends.

The Employers Perspective.

There are only a few benefits to the employer in allowing the employee to work a short time after quitting their job.  Certainly, passing on vital information is one.  The other would be to cross-train their true replacement in all the facets of their position.

For the employer, however, the downsides mostly outweigh the benefits.  Having an employee who has quit, with no real loyalty to your business, hang around your remaining employees for several weeks is not a good idea.

This departing employee has probably been looking for a new job for some time, they have not had the employers best interest at heart, and now, once it is known they are leaving, have the ability to pass on the reasons they are leaving and let everyone know how much greener the grass is on the other side of the fence.

A Better Way

A handful of innovative businesses are utilizing a process often referred to as an open transition program.

In these programs, companies are encouraging employees to look elsewhere for work.  By being serious about employees wanting, or needing to, quit their job, the companies are forced to be better employers.

They are, in essence, saying “Go ahead and see if you can find a better company than us because we want to be the best place to work.”

Mangers are expected to have open conversations with all employees to see how the employees are doing and get an early warning of potentially unsatisfied workers.  When an employee quits, no one is surprised.

The Bible

We all should be disappointed when an employee, who we have invested time and resources in, leaves our employment.  We are all made by God to work, and as employers, we need employees who enjoy their jobs.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 says.

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

But as employers, we need workers who not only delight in their labor but are willing to accept responsibility and keep the interest of the business in mind.

Luke 16:10 says

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

When you are surprised by one of your key employees leaving, remember three things;

  • You need to be competitive in your offerings to all your employees to keep them,
  • Consider whether it is worth it to keep them around for two more weeks, and
  • Trust in God that He will not only help to replace them but will help you upgrade.