10 votes

I’m writing an article about “How to hand over the reins when you leave a job.” I’d like your advice about what I should include.

My premise is that you genuinely want to help the company and the next person who moves into your old position. Maybe you got a promotion, or you found an even-better job. In any case, you want the old coworkers to succeed, and you want to make a smooth transition.

So there’s a few pieces to this:

• What do you do when you leave a job?

• What have other people done, when they left/moved on, that gave you the knowledge and skills you needed to excel?

• What did they NOT provide that you wish they had?

It’d be easy for me to focus on “what did you do” but none of us know how successful that was. So tell me, rather, about your experience as the person picking up the reins. What did that teach you about the process?

Anecdotes welcome! (And tell me how to refer to you in the article. Private is fine.)

6 comments

  1. kclk Link
    Documentation. And lots of it. When I stepped into my previous job, which was basically a system administrator role. I had no clue what the guy before me did. Who is contacts were (vendors and...

    Documentation. And lots of it.

    When I stepped into my previous job, which was basically a system administrator role. I had no clue what the guy before me did. Who is contacts were (vendors and otherwise), logins, or anything. I had to spend a lot of time just figuring out what to do in order to do my job effectively. I also walked into a huge project that was left stagnant and needed to be completed straight away.

    I made documentation. Outside of daily tasks I wrote documentation on my own processes that I established to better run the shop. I also setup a password locker with all the vendor contacts, logins etc. I still had a few reach outs, but overall I think the next person was a lot better off than myself.

    8 votes
  2. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. WinterCharm Link Parent
      I will second this. Combining this tip with writing a good SoP (standard operating procedure) for your job is an EXCELLENT way to hand off a position.

      I will second this. Combining this tip with writing a good SoP (standard operating procedure) for your job is an EXCELLENT way to hand off a position.

      2 votes
  3. [2]
    spit-evil-olive-tips Link
    In this vein, I had a manager who asked a great question during interviews - "how will your current team be affected by your departure, if you came to work here?" He'd get a lot of braggy answers...

    In this vein, I had a manager who asked a great question during interviews - "how will your current team be affected by your departure, if you came to work here?"

    He'd get a lot of braggy answers of people trying to hype up their own accomplishments and how great they were by saying their old team would be screwed without them, they did most of the really hard work, etc.

    Better answers focused on "they'll miss my specialization in X, but I've written documentation that covers some of that, plus Y and Z so my replacement should be able to hit the ground running" and things like that.

    I thought it was a savvy question because the "right" answer is counter-intuitive, at least in the moment. That manager recognized that if a candidate was leaving their current team in a lurch, then when the time came for them to leave our team, they'd be likely to do the same.

    5 votes
  4. Catt Link
    I recently went on mat leave and was invested on my job being properly handled while I'm gone. And while I'm planning on returning to work, I think the idea is the same. I pushed strongly on who I...

    I recently went on mat leave and was invested on my job being properly handled while I'm gone. And while I'm planning on returning to work, I think the idea is the same. I pushed strongly on who I wanted to do what tasks (management had a hand wavy plan that I didn't agree with). I had people shadow me and sit in on meetings when they could on and off for a few weeks before I left and in the last week had them basically operate as if I wasn't there while answering questions and offering advice as required. I also wrote up a year long plan on long term milestones that people needed to be aware, questions /and answers that I was often asked or defended (and why), and clear cut duties (to prevent scope creep while I was gone). And for my team, I did their annual evaluations early and wrote my suggested goals and path to achieving (and sent that to management also).

    Hoping I did hand off things properly...Guess I will find out when I return.

    3 votes