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The Importance Of An Extensive Handover When Leaving A Job

Handover Document & Files

Handovers are probably the least exciting part when leaving a job role. You’ve handed your notice in, excitement for your new role has reached fever pitch and then your manager announces that you have your four week notice period to handover to the new recruit. Enthusiasm suddenly drains from your body at the thought of completing a handover. Let’s be real it’s hardly exciting.

Making a proper handover document is however extremely essential in business. The work you provide to your successor defines you on a professional level and is a referral point for the future of the company. Handovers however should not be merely documents. There’s far more to handing over successfully than a piece of paper or a word file. Here are some simple, tangible tips for why you should handover properly and why you should go above and beyond the norm.

Why handover properly?:

The Business world is small:

I’ve written previously about the importance of building business relationships and how it can be essential in the future. You are accountable for your own actions and in this instance your handover. By completing a great handover you typically win the respect of your line manager.  You never know when you may need that relationship. What happens if the line manager moves onto a new role and wants to recruit a team? Your old manager could fast become your new manager in the future. The business world is small. Cliche as it may be; don’t burn your bridges.

Helping ex colleagues gains respect:

It’s common that your current work colleagues will be taking the workload while they recruit a replacement for you. With this you want to gain the respect of these people by helping them in what will be a challenging time. Prepare and document your handover. If they need your help provide as much support as possible. They will forever thank you for it.

Leave with a clear mind:

I always feel one of the best parts of moving roles is the cleansing process. This is the amazing feeling of cleaning one inbox and then moving to a new ‘clean’ inbox at a new company. By not handing over properly part of the cleansing period you typically experience when you move roles doesn’t occur. Leaving a company is the end of a chapter in your career and the chapter should never be left open and unfinished. Leave with a clear mind and a clear conscience.

Ways to successfully handover:

Of course all job roles are different and the the handover may be more substantial dependant on the importance level of the role you held. As a general rule of thumb especially on digital roles the following is required for a successful handover.


Written documentation or an email defining key day to day activities is essential when completing a successful handover. Outline the key points of the role and make clear what is expected. Of course people will have their own creative flair for a role but by clearly defining the tasks anyone who takes over the role should be able to hit the ground running.


Dependant on the job role files are pretty essential. If you work in a company finance department then handing over the spreadsheets will be a requirement. If you work in digital marketing then handing over key contact will also be important. Files allow the individual taking over the role to pick up where you left off and maintain already built relationships.

Handover meeting:

When completing a successful handover I would always supply the documentation and files a week before I leave an organisation. This allows the individual taking over the role (if already employed) to read and digest the files and follow up with any questions they may have. The best way to answer these questions is via a handover meeting. Ask the colleague to bring a list of questions and queries to the meeting which you can answer. The meeting allows the individual to be fully clear of the demands of the role and allows anything unclear to be answered before you leave the organisation. This also looks great perception wise as your manager should be aware of the meeting and your dedication to the role right up until you leave.

Offer contact details:

This one can be frowned upon however I always offer my future contact details to the individual taking over my role or at least the management. Sometimes things are missed on handovers or situations may crop up which a simple email can answer. Happily offer to help if anything like this happens and you’ll be looked upon in a great light. You’re leaving the company but you always want to be looked at as a respectful, talented individual within business. Little things like this can help drive the perception and build your business reputation strongly. Handovers are tedious when leaving a company. They are a rehash of the things you know and they usually involve collating vast amounts of data. Although they feel painful now a handover is as important for your career reputation as it is for the company you are leaving. Prepare and plan well, offer assistance to the best of your ability and you will leave the company smelling of roses with your head held high.

Read more about Generation Y Characteristics

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.


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