Whether you are on-boarding or off-boarding a team member or a client, a smooth transition is always the goal. While there are likely to be a few hiccups or bumps, there are several things you can do to make the process as successful as possible.
Ideally, you want everyone whether they are leaving or just joining to have the right information, the adequate resources and appropriate access to continue after the transition.
Following are some tips and tools to help you manage the process and avoid common pitfalls:
1. Plan in plenty of time
Give as much notice as you can. Take more time than you need. Make a timeline from announcement to effective final transition date. Also plan in status meetings and meetings where critical decisions can be discussed and possible shadowing and training can occur.
2. Create thorough documentation of processes and standard operating procedures
When you have a new support team, make sure they understand the existing process before they start new work. If your business grows and implements new processes, create videos to make it easier for anyone to know how to proceed. Create easy-to-follow documented steps so that someone can refer back to when needed.
3. Prepare transition tools
Preparing transition tools takes a lot of time. You have to make sure that all the information and documents, files and visual assets are ready, so they can be handed over to the next team member, who is going to take over your and manage the work no matter what. Not doing this can often lead to delays and mistakes.
4. Reassess access
Determining who has access to critical information, files, programs, accounts and passwords is a major consideration in times of transition. Setting everything up so it can be easily and securely shared or transferred is a solid foundation for any business no matter how big or small.
5. Make introductions to external working partners or parties
While transition and training is taking place, make sure to make introductions to outside vendors or support staff like website designers, podcast producers and publishing teams. This helps the new team member feel welcomed and saves the time of having to explain who they are and what they might need in the future.
6. Conduct exit interviews and check-in meetings when possible
Learning from insider experience is key. Before the completion of off-boarding occurs, set aside time for a healthy discussion about the experience and explore areas of continued improvement, efficiency and innovation.
Change is always hard even if it is for the better. So paving the way with thoughtful planning and helpful systems can make the transition far more successful.
Special thanks to Jen Lehner and her Front Row CEO program for being such an expert leader and guide in navigating business growth opportunities like this.