Prepare for a smooth staff handover

If an employee is leaving your firm on a temporary or permanent basis, you must ensure they hand over their workload with clear instructions. Without this process you risk disrupting other staff and key tasks being forgotten. When one of your employees is taking parental leave, going on holiday or moving on to a new job, you need to ensure their replacement or stand-in is briefed on all their tasks. By ensuring any handovers run smoothly, you can maintain the same work rate and help any new employees settle in quickly.
Carry out a structured handover
A long-term handover should include both a face-to-face conversation and a written document. Make sure it covers a description of the employee's tasks and processes, unique knowledge, project deadlines, key contacts, any ongoing issues, and details of log-ins, passwords or where keys are kept.
The handover should be structured, take at least half a day and include all the employee's day-to-day tasks.  There should also be a written note, with specific instructions about systems or projects, and useful contact numbers. However, any detailed training should be saved for the induction. The format of handovers will vary depending on the position, but the incoming employee should spend at least a couple of hours with the staff member who is leaving. If it's a key role, it might even be worthwhile bringing the new employee in early for work shadowing.
Short-term replacements don't need to be provided with such detailed handovers. A half-hour meeting, followed up by an email outlining the essential tasks, should be enough.
Manage your staff handover process
Although it is not necessary to have a formal handover policy, it is crucial that the outgoing employee knows what is expected. There is no statutory requirement to have handovers, but employers could consider writing a one-page guide. It makes business sense to tell staff you need them to do a handover. Make sure the employee starts preparing the handover soon after they hand in their notice or announce their leave. If an employee leaves without conducting a handover, you can use the induction period instead to ensure the new employee has been fully briefed on their responsibilities. The employee doing the handover should have explained their role, but in the induction you can ensure the new person is clear about what is involved. This is also the time to let them know if there is anything you would like them to do differently from the previous employee.


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