Executives - Messaging your own departure? 6 STEPS Not To Miss.



As an executive you may be given the opportunity to message your own departure in certain situations. One example is: You have been terminated for reasons such as misconduct, performance or lack of alignment with the board or CEO. In this circumstance, you may be given the option in your separation agreement to message your termination as a resignation.
This can benefit both the company - who may be trying to appease a board or public image AND the individual - who may want to preserve their dignity and/or privacy in the events surrounding the termination.

For an executive in this situation, how you leave and how you message your departure is crucial.

Here are 6 steps for your farewell email / or verbal address:

  1. Keep the tone light - this is not the time to show your hurt, frustration or anger on how things have ended. This is the time to say goodbye gracefully and set yourself up for your next position, and yes, it starts with how you handle this message. 
  2. Start with the facts - “I have resigned from XYZ and tomorrow will be my last day”. Have this be your opening line. It needs to be addressed so you can move on to your key messaging and intention of this email. Make short reference to the abrupt turnaround (lack of notice) but not too much detail - “thank you to the Executive Team for accommodating my departure at such short notice, during a busy time”.
  3. Express your gratitude - What did you love about your time here? Sometimes this is hard to capture in the moment with the shock and negative feelings that may be surrounding your departure. It is important that you leave reminding people (and yourself) what you accomplished during your time and the value you brought. It also shifts you into a better frame of mind to close this chapter and look forward. “During my time at XYZ, our department led transformational work in the space of new product innovation that has made life easier and information more accessible for our customers. I will be forever proud of the impact we made during my tenure”.  This frames your exit as the natural conclusion of a successful tenure.
  4. Thank your team - ‘It has been my privilege to be your CFO for 3 years, I have learnt so much from each of you and have been inspired by your passion for our industry. In many ways we have created a culture of high performance and belonging. I will treasure that moving forward and look forward to connecting with each of you in the future". This leaves the door open for your team (especially your key performers) to stay connected with you.
  5. What’s next for me?  Don't keep people guessing. Share what your plans are next -  “I have accepted a new position at XYZ", or "I will be taking the next month to pause and reflect on my next career move and look forward to updating you on what I decide”.
  6. Sign off - keep it informal and inviting - “Thanks again, keep in touch, Alice Campbell”.

While navigating what is undoubtedly a tricky time, this messaging will support you in leaving on a great note in spite of the circumstances and will set you up for that next role waiting for you.

Written by: Tess Sloane, Talent Lab

TechnicalTalent Lab