Lakeville’s Advance Resignation Notice Program
The Lakeville City Council approved an Advance Resignation Notice Policy in 2017 to strengthen city succession planning efforts and facilitate the transfer of vital institutional knowledge from long-time employees to new hires. As the policy reflects, employees providing the specified notice will receive a corresponding taxable cash payment:
- 90-days advance notice = $500
- 120-days advance notice = $1,000
- 180-days advance notice = $1,500
The city views the program as a great success because it allows for better recruitment scheduling prioritization and eases the employee transition process. Because the departing employee assists with the transition process, the policy creates a better, less stressful onboarding process for new hires, says Lakeville Human Resources Manager Tammy Schutta, and despite the capital outlay actually saves the city money.
Following the 2017 policy adoption, the city received its first advance notice from a 20-year incumbent administrative assistant. With a strong applicant market at that time, the city received over 200 qualified applications. The advance notice gave the city additional time to work through that large applicant pool. The new hire was very grateful for the time spent with the exiting employee to share important day-to-day work details.
Another success included a planning administrative assistant who provided six months of advance notice. This gave the incoming hire the benefit of six weeks of on-the-job training with the person leaving the position. Another more recent success was the city clerk position. The outgoing city clerk was retiring with 40 years of institutional knowledge and due to this program, the new hire had six weeks of vital on-the-job training.
Since 2017, Schutta reports she has budgeted about $4,000 annually in the HR budget for this program, but 2022 will be banner year with at least six advance notice retirements.
While not all retiring city employees take advantage of this benefit, the city continues to explore ways to ensure there is comfort with the program. Currently the city is looking into rolling into the exit interview process an opportunity to ask why the advance notice program was taken or not and if not, what barriers were identified. It is hoped testimonials from those questions can be used for marketing and program enhancements.
Modeled off the city of Shoreview’s program, Lakeville estimates it took three to four months to implement; from outlining the policy with the personnel committee, to city attorney review, and finally city council adoption.
Schutta sends out citywide reminders twice a year to staff to help employees remember the benefit when planning upcoming retirements. When a completed application is submitted to HR and approved, employees have 10 days to rescind the offer. Schutta meets with the respective department head to develop a tentative recruitment plan timeline for the vacancy. The department, including the exiting employee, reviews the position description to ensure it accurately reflects the position, and HR reviews salary data. Once all that is accomplished, the outlined recruitment plan is followed.