So, Harry has handed in his notice. Not only that, he’s taking Meghan with him!
But did they follow our advice about resigning in a graceful and respectful way? No, they did not! In fact, some might say that they have acted in an unprofessional manner.
No matter how much you don’t want to continue working for your employer, it’s rarely a good idea to leave on bad terms, especially while you’re still sixth in line to the throne. You might want a reference, after all.
So – what could they have done differently? Let’s see how Harry and Meghan’s actions measure up against our successful resignation template.
Five recommended steps for a successful resignation
1. Make sure you have all the details of your new job lined up. Contract, remuneration, start date etc.
Harry and Meghan have a plan, but it’s conspicuously lacking in detail. Unless there’s something they’re not telling us.
It sounds like they’re planning to do a bit of freelancing, in which case they should be aware of the upcoming changes to IR35.
2. Plan your handover and transfer of responsibilities.
There is an outline, but it’s short on detail again. From their joint statement: “We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth and our patronages.”
This could mean anything! Too vague to be a pass.
3. Write your resignation letter.
Here is the full text.
4. Consider how you will explain your departure to your manager and colleagues.
They haven’t explained it to their manager or colleagues, who are forced to interpret the letter in the same way that we commoners are.
5. Tell your manager before anyone else.
They told literally everyone else in the world first. The boss is furious, apparently.
But what about the employer’s role in all this?
By some accounts, this particular organisation didn’t treat Harry and Meghan very well. Their photo wasn’t even on the Christmas table, for heaven’s sake! And if you don’t manage your people effectively, you only have yourself to blame when they go elsewhere.
So what should you, as their employer, do next?
- You could consider making a counter-offer. This might buy you some time while you look for a replacement, but it’s not a long-term solution. Anyway, that ship has probably sailed. We don’t usually recommend either making or accepting counter-offers, by the way.
- You should review the contract to see if you can get them to repay the millions of pounds you spent on weddings and improvements to Frog Manor. A Repayment of Costs Agreement is common practice for companies to protect investment in employees (e.g. for training or relocation costs).
- You could draw attention to any restrictive covenants in the contract, but in practice they’re difficult to enforce so there is probably very little you can do to prevent Harry and Meghan joining a rival royal family from day one.
But overall, in the interests of protecting your employer brand, it’s probably best to just suck it up and move on. Even if you agree privately with Piers Morgan that Harry and Meghan are ‘shameless spoiled brats’ it’s probably better to keep your feelings to yourself.
Harry and Meghan completed most of the steps we recommend for a successful resignation, but signally failed to communicate their plans to their manager first.
But there’s no point staying in the wrong job, and making a clean break is sometimes the best idea.
So good luck, Harry and Meghan! And remember to get in touch if you need any advice on writing an effective CV.
Photograph by Robin Macey: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robin-macey-7b23b21a/