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How to Ensure Smooth Job Transitions

Part of the Business Succession Planning For Dummies Cheat Sheet

It’s not enough to simply develop a succession plan and set it into motion. In addition to monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting it as necessary, there is one very important element that must be carefully thought out: ensuring a smooth transition process for the successor. You can have the best, most qualified candidate in the world to succeed a key position, but the transition still may be rocky because you haven’t set up a process for transitioning that person.

Here are three helpful tips for ensuring a smooth transition of a successor hired from a source external to your organization:

  • Even before the transition takes place, familiarize the successor with your organization. Show the successor his or her new office, give the successor a tour of other offices, and introduce him or her to people from other areas. Provide the successor with an orientation that covers company policies and procedures, as well as company-specific passwords, acronyms, and the operation of company phones, computers, copiers, and printers.

  • Help the successor feel more at home by introducing him or her to department heads and other key people across the organization. Encourage social interactions, such as having lunches that include the successor and people with whom he or she will be working. The more welcome a successor feels, the smoother the transition will be.

  • Before the transition takes place, prepare the employees who will be interacting with the successor. Use departmental meetings to provide your employees with full information about the successor and his or her forthcoming roles and responsibilities in your organization.

Here are three more helpful tips for ensuring a smooth transition of any successor, whether selected from an external source or moved to the position from within your organization:

  • Introduce the successor to all the individuals with whom he or she will be working. Give them the chance to interact, get to know each other, and develop a level of comfort.

  • If possible, allow the successor, particularly if he or she is entering a top leadership positions, to shadow the person being replaced. This will familiarize the successor with the daily details of their new jobs, the issues and problems that typically come up, and the knowledge needed to effectively carry out the job.

  • Provide the successor with as full a debriefing as possible regarding the ins and outs of his or her new position. Depending upon the position itself, this debriefing should include information on company operations, accounting and financial data, new product development, and the strategic plan.

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