Have you just been promoted? Or will you be changing jobs in the new year? Here are some tips to ensure transitioning to a new role goes smoothly for you, your former colleagues and your managers.
The new year often brings change, and for many of us that change will be a brand new career opportunity. Whether you’re moving to a new role at a different company or moving up within your current organisation, there are some simple things to be aware of while transitioning to the new role.
Looking after number one
Looking out for your mental health while changing roles or careers is important, as any transition comes with challenges.
“Any new role is most likely to be stressful to an existing or new employee,” explains career counsellor Dr John Taccori.
This stress can last for around six months, or perhaps even a year, Taccori says. “The aim is to be aware of this and to hang in there. Assure yourself that it’s only temporary.”
Fortunately, Taccori says, there are things that can be done to ease any stress felt, including:
- Proactively developing new friendships in the workplace
- Socialising on breaks and using the staff tea room
- Getting fresh air on lunch breaks a few times a week – a walk or run can be helpful
- Finding a workplace ‘buddy’ who can help explain things for you when you need it
- Asking questions – “you are not the fountain of all knowledge, even if you are a manager,” says Taccori
- Engaging in daily mindfulness activities
- Avoiding ‘imposter syndrome’. “You are there for a reason. You were placed there by people who have interviewed you and contacted your referees and checked out your experience, qualifications and skill set. You therefore deserve to be there. Take comfort in that,” Taccori says.
‘You are there for a reason. You were placed there by people who have interviewed you and contacted your referees and checked out your experience, qualifications and skill set. You therefore deserve to be there.’
It’s up to employers too
It’s not all up to the employee, however; employers also have a role to play in ensuring a smooth transition for new or departing staff through on and offboarding.
Onboarding processes can vary at different organisations. “Companies that do not do this well, do it at their own peril, I believe,” Taccori warns.
He recommends that larger organisations with multiple new recruits coming through at a similar time consider running a workshop to introduce new employees to the company, its processes and procedures, staff and other key details.
Providing adequate training and setting realistic expectations are also key to onboarding staff, and providing a mentor or buddy for new staff can be “critical for helping a new employee settle” and can reduce the stress new employees face, he says.
“Let’s face it, starting any new role is going to be stressful, so anything a company can do to ease this will reduce the stress and perhaps even prevent an early and unexpected exit.”
The big promotion
Sometimes a transition is within a company, to a new role – such as a promotion to management. Taccori says employers need to ensure that in these cases those being promoted are trained in management. Not doing so can have consequences for turnover and staff satisfaction.
“One of the biggest areas of neglect by employers is promoting people to management roles and not making sure that they are either trained in modern management practices or providing management training to these new people,” he says.
“Employing people who have been managers previously is not good enough. A person may have been a manager for eight years; this does not mean they are good. Are they formally trained in management? If not, they need to be. The biggest reason staff leave is because they have poor managers leading them. This culture needs to change in all organisations.”
‘The biggest reason staff leave is because they have poor managers leading them. This culture needs to change in all organisations.’
Resignations happen. But there are ways for businesses to manage them effectively, so that their former employees remain satisfied and retain positive associations with the company.
Indeed, Taccori says, the old adage about not burning bridges applies equally to both employee and employer.
“If an employee is treated poorly on departure and is left in distress, you can be assured that that employee will somehow trash that company’s reputation with everyone they meet or online. It will not take long for that to occur.”
He recommends employers maintain an “open, fair and transparent process” for departing employees, including:
- Announcing the departure and celebrating the staff member, for example with a morning tea, a small gift and a short speech thanking them for their contribution.
- Setting aside time and space for an honest exit interview. It’s important that management acts on any recommendations noted by the exiting staff member.
- Making sure that the employee shares their knowledge of their role with the company before leaving, so that their skills and knowledge aren’t lost when they leave.
Employees can also do some simple things to ensure they leave on good terms, like providing adequate notice and being “courteous and diplomatic” in exit interviews, Taccori adds.
“You never know when you may need a former employer’s assistance. Some industries are small and people know each other within that industry. Word gets around quickly and so does one’s reputation,” he says.