The right way to hand-over is to have a hands-on successor
There’s a tug of war between your present employer and your future one – with the new employer pressing you to come on board ASAP, while your former employer is holding you to your notice period.
That’s when a smooth handover to your second-in-command can ease the pressure and help balance the pulls & pushes of old and new jobs.
Once you have an offer letter in hand, it’s natural to think that it’s now up to your previous employer to find / train your replacement. But don’t neglect transferring your knowledge and expertise to a strong second-in-command. Having a hands-on successor helps you part with your ex-employer on the best terms and also clears the way for a quicker transition to your new role.
Identify the ‘go-to’ member
You may be in the lucky position of having a clear successor waiting in the wings, but if not, you need to step back and evaluate who is really the best person to step in to your shoes at least temporarily. It may help to have more than one person as a ‘go-to- member’, each with specific expertise & roles that are spelt out in your hand-over document.
Make a user-friendly handover document
Think of the handover document as a training manual. Summarise WIP projects and back it up with processes, activity planners and to do checklists. Include the historical perspective along with analytics. Even if it could be used by someone who has been working in the same company, don’t assume that the person would be aware of all that goes into your job.
Don’t overwhelm the other person
Yes, you want to train the other person as quickly as possible and move on to your new job, but remind yourself of the kind of handover that you would want when you join. Put yourself in your successor’s position, and think like him/her, chunking down the information into shorter sessions over a couple of weeks, rather than overloading him/her with too much of data in one go.
Keep it interactive
Job shadowing along with discussions and info-sharing can work wonders. Allow your current team to shadow you on current projects, taking them to important meetings and introducing them to key stakeholders. Gradually switch to letting individual members lead the meetings while you mentor them and share feedback. This will help them understand your responsibilities first-hand and also provide opportunities for interaction.
Don’t forget your team
You may move on but your team will not. Give the HR team or your successor a download on each team member’s performance and even a gap analysis of their skills. If you are leaving close to the appraisal season, pro-actively get involved in the appraisal process with your successor, so you leave behind a team that is highly charged and motivated to carry on the good work you have done.
Make sure you have a hands-on successor when it’s time for your handover!