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Change Management: Employee Transition Process Template

This template provides a basic structure for your employee transition procedure.

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Change Management: Employee Transition Process Template

This template provides a basic structure for your employee transition procedure.


Personnel changes are a constant in any organization. So, our employee transitions procedure provides recommended actions and protocols you should have in place. When someone leaves, you can maintain productivity with the least amount of disruption.

Use cases:

  • Role transitions.
  • Employee resignation/termination.
  • Department reorganizations.
  • Layoffs/downsizing.

What should be documented?

Before the employee leaves, we want to document everything that the employee was responsible for. Plus, update anything existing documentation that they own.

The idea is to capture the time-saving tricks, the unique processes, and other innovations the team member has discovered and developed as they've worked in their role. These are usually not documented in the official job description. And they can save the incoming employee tons of time as they ramp up in their new role.

Role documentation questions

Here are a few questions to help capture all the right information:

  1. How would you define your role?
  2. What do you consider to be your top responsibilities?
  3. What do you do every day?
  4. What do you do every week?
  5. What do you do every month?
  6. What tools do you use to accomplish your responsibilities?
  7. Which team members are instrumental to your work and why?
  8. What is the most impactful thing you do for our business?
  9. How do you measure success in your role?
  10. What makes someone successful in your role?
  11. What makes someone not successful in your role?
  12. How have you innovated in your role?

This list is not exhaustive. So, feel free to add more specific questions to capture the nuances of the role.

Pro tip: Ask the employee to begin documenting their role at least one week before their last day on the job. This will give them time to take inventory and provide a clear picture of their role and responsibilities.

Job responsibility handoff

When an employee transitions out of a team or your company, there will be a "handoff" of responsibilities. What this handoff looks like will be different depending on whether:

  • Their replacement has already been hired.
  • An transitioning employee will be taking over responsibilities (temporarily or permanently).

Either way, the earlier the handoff process starts, the better!

This process should go as follows:

  • Have the transitioning employee document everything they were responsible for.
  • Clearly communicate who will own each of the responsibilities moving forward.
  • Provide those people with the documentation on their part and have them go through it.
  • Before the transitioning employee's last day, schedule a 1 on 1 with the people taking over their role or responsibilities.
  • During this 1 on 1, have the transitioning employee answer any remaining questions about the person's new responsibility.

Host an exit interview

The purpose of the exit interview is to gain insight into a person's role and employment experience. That way, you can make the experience better for the next person in that role and your company a better workplace in general. Which leads to better retention of top talent moving forward.

As a general rule, exit interviews should only be conducted with employees that are leaving your company voluntarily.

These interviews should be a comfortable and open conversation where your transitioning employee can talk freely about their experience (the good and the bad).

Here are some tips for conducting an exit interview:

  • Keep the conversation professional. Focus on work-related topics that will help you understand their experience.
  • Don't discuss personal issues or gossip. This can put you in an awkward position and create deeper issues moving forward.
  • Listen to opinions, don't offer them. Exiting employees will often share their opinions, both positive and negative, that can provide a clearer picture of their experience. Listen and take good notes - but don't agree or disagree.
  • Focus on the job experience, not employee performance. The exit interview isn't the time to discuss what the employee did right or wrong in their tenure. It's about learning how you can make [company name] a better place to work for your remaining employee.

Exit conversations questions

Here some sample exit interview questions:

  1. What prompted you to begin looking for another role?
  2. What did you like most about your role?
  3. What did you like least about your role?
  4. What did you like most about working with your team?
  5. What did you like least about working with your team?
  6. How has your role changed, if any, since you started?
  7. Do you feel you had all the tools and opportunities you needed to do your work successfully?
  8. How do you feel your role impacted the company's growth?
  9. Did you feel like your achievements and successes were recognized?
  10. What suggestions do you have for how we can improve this role and as a company?
  11. How would you describe your job?
  12. What would you consider your major duties?
  13. Walk me through a day in your role.
  14. What do you see as the most impactful part of your role (impactful on the business)
  15. What would make someone super successful in your role?
  16. What would make someone fail in your role?
  17. How do you measure success in your role?
  18. Anything else that you think is important for me to know about your role?

Exit logistics

The following is a list of logistical actions that should be taken when an employee exits the company.

Terminate all company-sponsored benefits:

  • Medical.
  • Dental.
  • Vision.
  • Short term disability.
  • Long term disability.
  • 401k.
  • Life Insurance.

Discuss benefit termination and next steps:

  • Cobra.
  • Rolling over 401k.
  • The exact date benefits will end.
  • Stock options (if offered).

Make sure all final pay is scheduled (and the employee knows when to expect it):

  • Final paycheck.
  • Severance pay if offered.
  • PTO payout (if applicable).

Make sure the employee gives their company property to [HR] (and that everything is all collected):

  • Office keys.
  • Employee ID.
  • Computer.
  • Credit card.
  • Phone.

Change management considerations

When an employee exits their role, it creates ripples across any organization. Some minor, others major.

And there are a few things you need to consider to create a smooth transition for your remaining team members and your transitioning employee.  

Regarding company culture:

  • How will the company culture change once the employee leaves?
  • Are there cultural gaps that will need to be filled?
  • How will you fill them?

Regarding communication:  

  • How will the employee's exit be communicated to the team?
  • Who will communicate it?
  • If the employee is leaving involuntarily, what will you do to protect their integrity?

Regarding the transitioning employee:

  • What can you do to make the employee a brand advocate?
  • How can you help the employee find their next opportunity?
  • Will the employee be eligible for rehire?

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Have a question about this policy? Reach out to [a member of our HR/contact person].

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