Staff transitions can create a great deal of frustration for everyone involved—but they don’t have to. The key to a successful transition is preparation. If the transition is not effectively managed, an organization is likely to experience:
- Low morale
- Poor performance
- Loss of creativity
- Blaming others
- Increased absences
In the past year, I have helped several associations through maternity leaves, abrupt departures and employee turnovers. It’s important to have trusted contacts on hand in time of need.
Here are some tips to help make your next staff transition as smooth as possible.
BEFORE – BE PREPARED:
- Review and update job descriptions annually
- Record SOPs and processes, especially for complicated tasks
- Host an annual cleanup week for e-mail, shared drives and paper files
- Have an employee status change checklist ready
DURING A TRANSITION:
- Communicate honestly and often. When done poorly, staff may become concerned and unsure of their job stability.
- Create a transition work plan. List current projects, what needs to be finished before leaving and who will handle responsibilities before a replacement is hired. Your staff needs clear directions on tasks and priorities.
- Find a way to fill the gap. Hire a consultant or divide and conquer.
- Let your superstars emerge. When people are given new responsibility – even temporarily – it can make them shine or fizzle.
- Review the org chart and job descriptions. Hire for what you need today, not what you needed five years ago.
WHEN YOU BRING ON NEW STAFF:
- Have an on-boarding and orientation process
- Trust people to do what you hired them to do
- Pass on projects and responsibility gradually
- Balance old and new to avoid chaos
- Identify what the organization can let go of
- Ensure projects are covered. Hired consultants if needed.
Whether you’re planning to directly replace the departing employee or changing someone’s role internally, you’re going to have some gaps to fill. Don’t rush. Be strategic. You can use a contract employee like me in the short term to ease the pain of the busy work while you take your time and find the right fit. In the past year, I have helped several associations through maternity leaves and employee turnover for marketing staff.
I hope you’ve gained some takeaways that will help you manage through staff transitions. Remember, the key is to be organized and prepared before someone leaves.
To learn how I can help your team, e-mail me at CherylWilsonMarketing@gmail.com.