How to keep productivity high during notice period

Low productivity of employees during notice period is actually a hidden cost to the organisation

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It is natural for employees to disconnect from work when they are on their notice period. “Why should I bother? I am anyway about to leave” is the thought process that tends to grip employees who are serving their notice period. Their interest in the work ebbs, as they are more preoccupied with thoughts of the new career journey they are about to start in the new organisation.

Of course, this disconnect and disengagement leads to low productivity. For the organisation, this phenomenon of low productivity of employees during the notice period proves to be expensive. After all, technically, the concerned employees would be serving the entire notice period but their output level, on a per day basis, would be low. Therefore, as an organisation, the cost incurred is more.

Why does this happen? Why has it become so common for employees to become lax and not serve their notice period with a fully engaged frame of mind?

“It is common human psyche, which pushes the employees to question themselves as to what is the point in putting in as much effort as before when they are now about to dissociate from the company”

Anil Mohanty, head of people, Medikabazaar

Human psyche: “It is common human psyche, which pushes the employees to question themselves as to what is the point in putting in as much effort as before when they are now about to dissociate from the company,” says Anil Mohanty, head of people, Medikabazaar. The employees feel that there is nothing really left to prove in an organisation that they are about to move on from.

HR practices: Certain HR departments follow very old practices when it comes to serving the notice period. Some organisations even withhold the salaries of the employees and take away all their benefits, such as leaves. The employees cannot take leave during the notice period. “Such practices are actually very demotivating for the employees, which results in low productivity,” says Nilay Nilay, CHRO, India Shelter Finance Corporation.

Why do such practices exist in organisations?

“Generally, it is an issue of trust. Employers do not trust their employees. They fear that the employees may abscond. This fear is quite real since such cases have taken place in the past, but I still believe that companies can do away with these practices,” says Mohanty.

Talking from his own experience, Mohanty questions, “Out of 100 cases, 95 employees would actually end up serving their notice period genuinely and with sincerity. Why retain such demotivating practices only because of those five per cent who may not be genuine?”

How can the productivity level be kept high?

Stop withholding salaries and benefits: As Mohanty suggests, withholding salary can demotivate employees and keep them from giving their 100 per cent. So companies should actually consider doing away with this practice. In fact, Mohanty shares that one of his previous employers actually followed the practice of giving the full and final cheque to the employees on their very last working day at the company. “This was a practice we actually followed religiously,” says Mohanty.

“Whether it is handing over of responsibilities or helping the organisation find their replacement, managers will have to be clear about what tasks or responsibilities they would want the employees to fulfil before they leave”

Nilay Nilay, CHRO, India Shelter Finance Corporation

Communicate clearly: To keep the expectations right, managers need to be clear about what they expect from their employees during the notice period. “Whether it is handing over of responsibilities or helping the organisation find their replacement, managers will have to be clear about what tasks or responsibilities they would want the employees to fulfil before they leave,” says Nilay.

Keep notice period negotiable: Quite often, employees wish to reduce their notice period. Serving longer notice periods, such as three months or six months, can hinder the smooth joining of the employee with the future employer. Also, if the employees intend to leave early, holding them back forcibly may not serve any purpose as their motivation level would be anyway low.

Treat employees well: The engagement and productivity levels of employees would actually depend a lot on how well their employees have treated them during their tenure. If the employees share a good relationship with their managers and further wish to maintain it, they will definitely end up working harder during the notice period. “There are certain factors that trigger the decision of employees to move out. To mitigate those triggers, managers need to be thoroughly trained to maintain a good relationship with their employees,” suggests Nilay.

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