Changing company can be scary. Heart palpitations, shallow breathing, and sleepless nights. Sure, there is a healthy slug of excitement in the mix too, but leaving the team you know and the company you have worked in, can be incredibly daunting, even if we know we are going somewhere better.
At Applause IT, we work in teams to cover the recruitment needs of clients across the UK. In the New Year, my teammate, Sam who worked with me to cover Manchester & the North West, left not only for a new company but for a new continent, Australia!
I was heartbroken, we all were, but he was embracing the chance to grow and eventually we had to give in to his excitement. Of course, with Sam leaving, we had space to find a new teammate. Someone I would work closely with every day, after spending years finessing our relationship and workflow. This was not a change I was looking forward to. Sam parted leaving me with a lifetime supply of chocolates from Poundland (which lasted two weeks) and a promise to be just a call/email away. Heart palpitations, shallow breathing…
Cue my new wonderful teammate Dan and our fool-proof plan to combat your fear of a change in your company.
How did I handle a change in my team? It's simple Eat, Share, Trust.
Number one is easy. It’s almost impossible to go the workday without eating, so why not eat together? Sam and I would go out for dinner every quarter to catch-up, we’d have a wager going all quarter to determine who would choose the place. If your company is willing to expense this as a ‘work lunch’ then all the better, if not taking it in turns to pay ensures that the tradition won’t die out! It’s easy to make excuses and work through lunch, but making the effort every month or quarter can take your team’s relationship from Agent J & K at the beginning of MIB to Agent J & K at the end of MIB, in a matter of lunch!
This may sound harder than it actually is. Simple things like your schedule, your priorities for the day, week, month, quarter, your history with a client. All of this is invaluable to a newbie and often overlooked. Most calendars in Outlook and Gmail can let you share your diary with colleagues very easily and helps you to stay in sync, as well as manage expectations- scheduling weekly catch-ups with certain targets can set the pace of a task. It’s a lot easier for your new team member, whether moving from another team or another company to be brought up to speed if you’re willing to share information freely and honestly. Finding out about meetings last minute or forgetting to cc in team members in emails while you adjust and settle in is a sure fire way to lose your footing with point number 3.
Trust your gut and your mind. You know they can do the job, otherwise, they wouldn’t have been hired/transferred for it. Don’t spend your time worrying and micro-managing, unless you can prove they pose an actual risk for the company, let it go, let it go and trust them. You also need to trust your gut. A creative and productive team works best when you genuinely get on and trust one another. While you can do your part to make friends: being civil, cordial, hygienic, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Don’t be scared to listen to your gut if you feel something is going in the wrong direction, starting to get you down or negatively affecting your work. Chances are your HR manager, or company would rather know how you felt than let productivity slip or potentially lead you to look for work elsewhere. Sometimes discreet changes can make everyone feel comfortable and happy without ruffling too many feathers. Trust that you will look out for yourself if the situation calls for it to speak up.
Dan has turned out to be the best teammate I could have hoped for. We go out for a lunch and share in my mid-afternoon chocolate stash. We share our to-do lists every morning and outline priorities and help out with each other’s workload as needed because we’re joined in wanting the best for our team. We also trust each other to point out where we can improve and let each other work in our own way.
Change can be scary, especially when you have your own systems and processes in place. But having a fresh set of eyes on your work routine can give you the chance to re-evaluate your capabilities and workload. Is there a report you can automate, a responsibility you can take on, or skill you want to learn, which you were too busy or scared to take on before? We’re always changing, whether we notice it or not! Don't fret, and like Sam did- take life's chances!