The skills for negotiating a notice period have never been more important.
In Digital Marketing people move jobs frequently. There are a lot of transferable skills that allow people to shift from Paid Media to Biddable or from PPC to Paid Search etc. Whether this is to learn new skills, try out new platforms, or just for a change of pace; regular job switching isn’t the stigma on your CV that it is in other industries.
But notice periods are becoming more commonplace and longer. The 3 month notice period was previously only for more senior positions and tenured-employees: But at Herd Digital we’ve noticed an increase in the length of notice periods across the board.
This makes it more essential than ever that you to have the knowledge you need for when you’re ready to leave for greener pastures. So we’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to negotiate your notice period, to make sure you’re prepared for when you start your job search.
When you hand in your notice, your employer wants to delay your leaving. Their focus is on how your leaving will impact the company and impact them personally. However, when they are over the shock of your departure, they could consider the benefits of you leaving.
It’s your job at this stage to convey to your employer why it could actually be a good thing for you to leave early. Reasons such as:
Before you can negotiate a notice period, you need to know what your notice period is. Your notice period is the length of time that you are contractually obliged to work after you hand in your notice. You can find this in the contract you signed when you started your job.
Either your notice period will increase over time (as you become more valuable to and harder to replace for the company) or will be a fixed term like 1 or 3 months.
Ideally you should know this before you even begin your job search to avoid wasting time applying and interviewing for jobs that have a start date that’s too early.
The first step in actually negotiating notice periods is perhaps the scariest, and that’s asking to not have to honour the terms of your contract. Your manager will most likely turn you down, so it’s down to you to be persistent. You may need to ask again and again to make your manager realise how serious you are.
If you need to leave, convey that need. No business is going to keep around an employee who clearly doesn’t want to be there, actively bringing down morale: And the last thing your manager wants is your colleagues following your lead.
You can use any remaining holiday leave to effectively shorten your notice period. This relies on your employer accepting your holiday request. But to increase your chances you can convey to them the benefit of allowing you to use up your remaining holiday days; not having to pay you for the length of your notice period and your accrued holiday leave.
If you’re negotiating your notice period it can help to bring something to the table; your knowledge of the role. No one knows how to do your job, or the skills you need to do your job, better than you. So when you’re set on leaving, one thing you can do to shorten your notice period is to make the transition as smooth as possible for your employer by helping find your replacement. This includes things such as:
‘Gardening Leave’ is a term where you are still employed and paid by the company, but you are asked to stay at home and not work. This is most typical for senior positions, for people working on sensitive campaigns, or if you’re going to work for a competitor.
So if you are put on ‘Gardening Leave’ for any of the reasons above, this gives you the perfect opportunity to ask to be released from your contractually obliged notice period. While you need to ask to get it, this decision is entirely down to your employer.
As a last resort and if you need to leave immediately, you can break your contract.
This is an extreme measure and not something we would generally recommend if it can be avoided. If you break your contract, you open yourself up to the possibility of being sued by your ex-employer for the money it will cost them to pay a (potentially expensive) freelancer to replace you for the duration of your notice period.
However, this is an unlikely result. No company wants to be known as the company that sues it’s ex-employees: Even if they are legally in the right, it’s not a good look. And suing an ex-employee is a long and expensive process that will likely not be worth it for the business.
As discussed earlier, when you hand in your notice your manager’s focus will be on how your leaving will impact the company. Your manager will perhaps go to their manager to discuss how much they are willing to offer you to keep you. Here at Herd it’s something we coach all our candidates to expect.
Your counter offer may involve a significant pay increase, but it’s important to remember the reasons you’ve decided to leave. For example, this pay increase often doesn’t represent your value to the company, but how much it would cost the company to replace you at short notice.
Your counter offer could be presented to you in your exit interview or at a separate date, but you can safely expect one. While it may be tempting to vent in your exit interview, it won’t benefit you at all. It’s best to leave on good terms, and thank them for your time there. After all, digital marketing is a small world, and it’s best to avoid burning bridges when you can.
If you’ve tried all of the above but don’t wish to take the extreme option of breaking your contract, then you may have to work out the length of your notice period. While this is obviously not the outcome you were looking for, you should aim to avoid working below your usual standard.
It can be all too tempting to do the bare minimum, but digital marketing is a small world: You may work with the same manager or colleagues again, and you don’t want to make a reputation for yourself as someone who quits mid-campaign and leaves your team in a lurch.
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