Moving Parts – Maintaining Efficiency When Team Members Move On
The average person will change jobs four times by the time they turn 32. As a member of a team, that fact may be scary. Losing a team member, a boss, or even just an intern can put extraordinary strain on a finely tuned team because roles will change, responsibilities increase, and stress starts to boil over. Your company isn’t always going to immediately hire someone new when there is a vacancy. Here are a few ways to transition smoothly when someone moves on.
Keep the Ball Rolling
The first few weeks after an integral part of a team leaves will be the main hill to climb. The remaining members may need to stay late to keep up with workload, while figuring out what piece of the load each person is best suited to pick up. Having brief meetings every morning for a couple of weeks to determine what is on your plate and who should be doing what will help keep structure in place. Over the course of those weeks, team members should be thinking about and offering the skills they possess to fill the gaps. As daily procedures start to normalize, these morning meetings can turn into weekly meetings, and the ball keeps rolling.
When possible, it’s best to work ahead on daily “busy work.” It’s nearly impossible to take stock of everything a missing team member brought to the table in a short period of time, so getting ahead on your own work will make it easier to take on more responsibilities as they rise to the surface. If you have ten graphics to make every day, try to do twelve if you have extra time. That way, if the person who left was in charge of reporting for example, you’re free to clear an hour or two that week to knock it out.
Plan for the Future
After things begin to normalize, you will able to take stock of what your department does well and what it needs, so you can begin planning for the future. Think about what a new person in your team would look like. A new position may not be reminiscent of the person who left. Fill the gaps you have now and may have in the future not the gaps that were left by your former team member. Are you a member of a creative team? Are you better suited by bringing in a senior designer or an intern? Do you need a web developer or a video editor, or are your team members able to shift to handle that workload? Have a team meeting, establish roles, and make the transition as smooth as possible.
When people leave, times become trying. How you handle that adversity and rise to the occasion is up to you.