Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Handovers “Olympic Style”

I’ve always enjoyed watching relay races where the race can be won or lost depending on how effectively each team member passes on and receives their baton.

In business, the same applies.  Someone leaves a job that they may have occupied for a short or a long time and you have to find a replacement.  If you’re lucky, the replacement arrives before the person they're replacing has left.  If not, there’s a “gap” between one leaving and the other arriving.

One of the companies I worked with had a well-structured framework for handovers and takeovers where the new arrival and the worker leaving were able to get together.  Even when this wasn’t possible, the new arrival was able to get “up to speed” fairly quickly.

What was the secret?  Simple really.  In addition to the team and/or manager of the position in question, the company had:
  • A Job Description for the position being vacated/taken over;
  • A Takeover Certificate for the position being vacated/taken over;
  • Experience of people leaving jobs and taking on new ones as part of their career development.

Just three things, but they made all the difference.  

In addition to the above, both the person leaving and the person taking over in the job should have their own lists of what they need to hand over and/or ask about.  If you’re lucky, these lists will correspond in large part to any Takeover Certificate available.

The next step is to prioritise what to cover.  Use a “Day 1, Day 2” and so on format.  If you’re lucky enough to have more than a few days, then use “Week 1, Week 2” and list what you want to have covered by then.  Include things such as:
  • Introductions to key people;
  • Obtaining passwords, email account, IC cards, etc;
  • Key documents or manuals;
  • Sitting with key staff to see how they work;
  • Client meetings;
  • Training in safety procedures, etc.

Show your list to your new manager, your new team and (if they’re there) the person you’re taking over from to see if there’s anything to add.

The result is that by the end of each identified period, you will have completed a number of steps on the road to becoming a productive team member.

The person responsible for the new recruit (apart from their direct supervisor) should also check from time to time how things are going and suggest ideas where necessary.

Much of the above may seem like “common sense” to many, but my experience is that the process isn’t so common…

I have spent more than half my life delivering change in different world markets from the most developed to “emerging” economies. With more than 20 years in the world financial services industry running different service, operations and lending businesses, I started my own Performance Management Consultancy to offer solutions for improving performance, productivity and risk management.  I work with individuals, small businesses, charities, quoted companies and academic institutions across the world. An international speaker, trainer, author and fund-raiser, I can be contacted by email . My website provides a full picture of my portfolio of services.  For strategic questions that you should be asking yourself, follow me at @wkm610.

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