How to Announce Your Departure to Your Coworkers

It won't matter if it was one or 100 brilliant feats that granted you access to your company's “hall of fame” of star achievers. If you close down your work station for good and never return, without properly notifying your coworkers, they will probably always associate you with that one unprofessional gaffe. So why take chances with your reputation?

Write a resignation announcement to your colleagues and take the high road to your next adventure – and prove yourself to be a class act worth admittance to that hall of fame.

Former Coworkers Have a “Funny” Way of Resurfacing

Sending an email is the most efficient and most democratic way to inform a workplace of any size that you're moving on. But it's a fair assumption that right now, somewhere in America, some disgruntled employee is plotting a few revenge strikes before his last day on the job. Penning an upbeat resignation announcement email is probably the furthest thing from his mind.

This employee likely thinks he has nothing to lose; he assumes he'll never cross paths with this group of people again, so why not? The problem with this way of thinking, Forbes notes, is that former coworkers could “turn up as clients, customers, colleagues or even hiring managers in a new company, either by hire or by merger.” A lack of grace in a previous role would make an interesting segue as these two people renew their connection.

For the sake of your professional reputation, it's far better to take the long view and write a resignation announcement email. It's “good etiquette” and can contribute to a smooth transition once you're gone, Indeed says. Besides, the process itself shouldn't take long, especially if you follow a few sensible tips along the way.

Tell the Boss First

Informing your direct supervisor of your plans to leave the company should be your No. 1 priority, according to Robert Half. “You do not want (him) to find out from somebody else that you have decided to leave the company. Not only is this disrespectful towards your superior, but you may find yourself in trouble for violating company policy.”

Consult your employee handbook for guidance on what form the notification should take. Some companies require both an in-person and written resignation; other companies say that an email notification is sufficient.

If you do nothing else, ensure that you give your direct supervisor at least two weeks' notice. Another surefire way to fall from grace is to offer anything less.

Craft a Mailing List, Then Embrace Brevity

Crafting a resignation announcement to colleagues can be tricky if you work for a large company. So make it less so by addressing your departure email only to those employees with whom you worked with regularly or who know you best. A mass, company-wide email is not necessary and can create confusion for employees who don't know you.

There's no one “right way” to write a resignation announcement email. But it may help to remember that sometimes the best emails are concise emails that:

  • Exude positivity (even if you have to strain yourself) and contain not a trace of anger or resentment.
  • Explain that you've tendered your resignation, your last day on the job and why you're leaving. Include no more than your new title and company if you've accepted a new professional position. (Afterward, it's up to you to decide if you wish to share more information – and with whom to share it.)
  • Include a few sentences showing gratitude – for the caliber of people you've worked with, the projects you championed together or what you've learned.
  • Express your desire for a smooth transition and your desire to help with the transition. It's your call whether to encourage people to contact you with questions after you're gone.
  • Thank your coworkers for the benefit of your shared experiences and wish them well.

Time Your Email

While you don't want to wait until your last day on the job to send your resignation announcement email, it's probably fair to say that you don't want to spend two full weeks doing little else but fielding questions about your next endeavor, either. So give some thought about the timing – and prepare to bask in the last brilliant feat of your tenure.