An abundance of research, models, and resources exists to support teams in maximizing their effectiveness in delivering high performance and value to the team’s key stakeholders. Yet, one area that doesn’t tend to get enough attention is the criticality of managing the process of team members transitioning on and off the team.
We often tend to think this is a fairly simple process. Yet, how does the new team member fill the role of the person who has just moved on? If the team is expanding and someone is coming into a new role, how do they fit in? How do we capture the knowledge that is leaving with the team member who is transitioning out? The dynamics of the team are impacted every time there’s a change. So, beyond welcoming the new team member and saying a fond farewell to the one who is moving on, what can leaders do to pave the way for creating a smooth transition?
Here are a few key considerations when bringing on a new team member:
- What excites them about coming on board?
- What resources or support do they need from you or other members of the team to help them get up to speed?
- What plans are in place to train them?
- What level of oversight do you need to provide to ensure they have a smooth transition (without micromanaging)?
- How will you welcome them to the team and ensure they meet everyone?
- What will you put in place to help the other team members accept and welcome the new member?
- How can you create an environment where the differing perspectives and experiences of the new team member are listened to and considered?
Here are a few key considerations when a team member is transitioning off the team:
- How will this person’s work be transitioned to their replacement in a seamless way?
- What is your process for capturing the team member’s knowledge before they move to a new group or leave the company?
- How much time have you built into the process for them to train others?
- How do you thank them for their contribution before they move on?
- How do you ensure that confidential or proprietary information doesn’t walk out the door with the departing team member?
Transitions on and off a team are an important factor in team performance and results and, too often, proper preparation for such transitions doesn’t occur. Whether you are leading a long-standing team or shorter-term project teams, take the time to consider exploring these questions with your team the next time a transition on or off occurs. The time you invest now will pay off through shorter ramp-up time, more effective collaboration, and higher productivity.
What has worked for you in managing transitions successfully? Please feel free to share your ideas.