Day 93/ 365 – Two Weeks Notice


So I get an email at work yesterday announcing Mr. X has put in his papers and is serving 2 weeks notice and I think to myself – just two weeks? Are two weeks sufficient to handover to everything that you have been working on to someone else? First of all can you even identify a resource for handover in two weeks? I was very amazed to know that most companies in the US have only two weeks of notice period, while here in India most companies have 3 months of notice period. The difference in notice period duration is very drastic. I have often had HR managers say that the reason for such high notice is to restrict talent for leaving the organization, but I am not sure if there has been any research done to prove this. I believe if an employee finds a better opportunity, he or she is simply going to move on. In some cases he would buy out the notice period and in some case the prospective employer would buy out the notice period and in some cases the notice period would be waived off. So the question is why have such a long notice period?

The other reason that is often cited is that we need to hire someone as your replacement or you need to train your replacement and it takes time. Quite frankly, I find this reason to be not valid at all. Expecting someone who is on notice period to train someone may not be the best way to go out training the replacement as there is no motivation for someone who is leaving the organization to provide any value addition. More often than not, a person serving notice period is hardly assigned any work which is important in nature. Most of the times, it has been observed that person serving notice comes to work, marks his attendance, spends most of the time surfing the internet and then logs off and heads for the day. Most handover is normally completed within 3 weeks of the employee submitting his resignation and the rest of the time he is not being optimally utilized. However, he does get paid for the entire time. So this leads me to the question how do companies afford to have such a long notice period?

It has been observed that notice periods at CXO levels are relatively shorter compared to middle management.Wondering why isnt it the same across organization. I find this to be an interesting problem. May be I will reach out to people in HR and try and understand from them why such long notice periods in India? Is it because we cant identify resources? We dont have resources? Do we really have so much work that we cant handover whatever it is we are working on in 2 weeks? Or has recovering notice period from the employees become a new way to generate additional revenue for the organization? It is especially strange considering that organizations in developed nations, where is a shortage of resources, are able to find resources, get the hand over done in less than 2 weeks. Whereas organizations in resource rich country like ours resort to something like this.

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