When you lose a valuable employee and hire a replacement, how do your teams typically react? If your company is like most, the answer probably depends on the person’s position and level of influence, but it may also depend on the general fabric of your workplace culture. When it comes to the unrest associated with turnover, there’s a trade-off at work: If your teams are tightly knit and your workplace feels like family, turnover can bring a higher level of upheaval. But if your employees tend to come and go with little impact—as if moving through a revolving door, unknown and unnoticed– there’s a chance your culture can use some work. Here are a few things to consider as you try to keep change from derailing your productivity.
Give plenty of warning.
When a valued employee gives notice and you know that the departure of this person might lead to a general unraveling, let affected employees know right away. Be as discreet as you need to, but don’t waste any time putting a plan in place that can sidestep potential bottle necks and avoid the confusion that’s likely to take place in this person’s absence.
If the new employee will be taking over for someone with complex responsibilities and years of accumulated organizational knowledge, think ahead. How can you get this person up and running as soon as possible? Keep your expectations reasonable, prioritize the things they’ll need to learn, and leverage the departing employee’s help as much as possible before her final day. Ask her to create the clearest possible description of her daily responsibilities and use any available overlapping time to pair her with the new employee for shadowing and mentoring.
Enlist the help of your teams
The new employee may not be able to shoulder the entire load of the new position on the very first day, but with a little teamwork, the group can still make it through the transition with minimal errors and oversights. Encourage peer groups to work together to support and inform the new employee when the need arises.
Put everything in writing
Smoother transitions and rapid learning curves take place when new employees don’t have to remember every detail. Present the incoming person with as much written material about the job as possible, including access to binders or websites (or both) where he can turn for information about company policies and job responsibilities.
Foster a healthy and productive workplace culture.
If your employees are burned out, over-worked, hyper competitive, solitary, or just plain self-involved, expect rocky transitions—and lots of them. Unhappy teams mean high turnover, and those turnovers won’t go well if your teams aren’t dialed in to those around them. Encourage collaboration, shared goals, communication, and general friendliness and you’ll have an easier time bridging the gap between one tenure and the next.
For more on how to build a positive and productive workplace culture, reach out to the Shelby staffing experts at PSU.