The notice period in our company is one month. One of my team members has quit and he is serving his one month notice period. However, it is getting difficult to get any work done from his side.

Do you guys have any tips or tricks on how to motivate my team member when he has already shown no interest in doing work in his notice period?

  • Thanks a lot for everyone. All the answers are good and informative. I am just marking the one with more votes as answer here. Commented Mar 9, 2011 at 9:34

5 Answers 5


When an employee gives notice to a manager, the relationship instantly and fundamentally changes. The relationship is no longer manager/employee and instead becomes a peer to peer relationship.

From: 9 Tips for Quitting a Job Gracefully

9. Be conscious of the shift in the balance of power.

The moment you quit is when you go from being your boss's underling to your boss's equal. After all, you are no longer beholden to your boss for a job. At the point of quitting, any more work you do for your boss is out of kindness and respect for the custom of giving notice.

While the employee does technically still work for you -- and yes, he/she does still receive a paycheck -- keep in mind that he/she is essentially doing you a favor by sticking around for the month-long notice period. In many cases, the employee could just start early at the new company and leave you high and dry.

Remember, this person has short-timers syndrome, which is not to be confused with laziness. Remember what it was like when you started a new role and what that stress and excitement was like.

As a result, a good way to view your former subordinate turned peer is as if he or she is a volunteer who has agreed to help train his or her own replacement. Don't look at him or her as a resource on the project after the notice period, as the purpose of the notice period is to transition, not to squeeze out the last few drops of productive work from said employee.

  • 2
    +1 "not to squeeze out the last few drops of productive work from said employee." ... sadly most people fail to realize this
    – CaffGeek
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 20:09

There isn't much of a carrot you can entice him with, and since he's leaving in a few weeks, there isn't much of a stick you can smack him with.

If he's becoming (more?) difficult to work with, get another dev to sit down with him and go through his projects to capture any smarts that have not been sufficiently documented. When that's done, just let him go.

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    Great answer; this is about all you can do. Get whatever documentation out of this person you can, and show him the door before he drags your team down.
    – CraigV
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 21:00
  • This member was a very key member for project. It seems like we are in helpless position now without foreseeing the consequences. :( Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 6:09
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    +1 - But I would let him go with grace, style, and tact. Even this short-timer at one point was a key person on your team. Don't forget that :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 7:09
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    @Sachin Shanbhah: Because he was a key member of the team, you should use the time to manage the transition insteed of getting some extra work done. Or else, you will be in deep trouble once he left! Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 9:11

I am not sure that if there is anything that can be done to motivate him. His mindset is already on the downturn, and could have negative affect on the other team members.

The best you could do is to shield the other team members from his toxicity either by cutting him free from the team, or getting him to do trivia tasks that have minimal project impact.


Actually, the notice period is not thought for the leaving person to get more work done. It's meant in order to manage the transition: get all the know-how out of him because when he's not here anymore, you will be in trouble if you don't. Maybe you can also seek his help to hire a replacement. But him not wanting to commit to new strategic-to-the-company projects is completely normal!


Ask him what does he want. What are his plans for the next year? What would motivate him? Ask him how can you help him to achieve his goals. Once you know his goals try to align them with your project objectives. Once you do this - he becomes a valuable resource for you.

In very very rare cases you won't be able to achieve such an alignment.

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