To ensure your role continues to develop and grow, from one rep to the next, a comprehensive and detailed handover is crucial. This will help the incoming reps understand the roles they are taking on and ensure any problems are resolved.
What exactly is a handover?
This is when an Incoming Rep is preparing to take over a position and is introduced to their roles and responsibilities by the Outgoing Rep. It is then followed by an induction by a Development Coordinator/Student Engagement Coordinator to welcome them to the operations of the Union. The handover is a formal record of your activities as a Rep.
Why is it important?
It ensures that there is continuity between Outgoing and Incoming Reps so that there can be long term plans and development opportunities. It prepares the new Rep with the aims that the achievements of previous years can be maintained but also limits the risk of repeating mistakes of previous Reps. Less time is wasted as procedures are already in place and it provides support for the Incoming Rep.
When should you do a handover?
Ideally the handover should be done within a fortnight of election or appointment – get them whilst they're keen! You need to prepare them for the role they are about to undertake, so write your handover throughout the year, documenting your activity so there isn't a rush. Don't forget to hang around, so they can ask you questions – you are the font of all knowledge for your role.
4 Do's and Don’ts
· Different people respond/interact in different ways, so where possible, tailor the handover to different Reps
· Write down the ideas and knowledge in your head!
· Offer clarity, but also be honest. What is a definite requirement of the role and what is a personal reflection and observation of what is actually entailed
· Give them ideas and suggestions but don't hang over them. Let them take responsibility and come ask you for support if they need to. Let can make different choices or decisions if they want to
· Don't abandon the new Reps! Let them have your email/mobile, so they can ask questions or meet them for a catch up and review
· Don't leave it until they’re in position to start compiling your handover – get writing now!
Methods of Handover
There are different options for handing over, whether you get the new Rep to shadow you on day to day tasks, pay a visit to the Cash Office, or introduce them to key people. Produce written documents, Word/PDFs, and printouts and store them in a space that can be accessed (i.e. Google Docs). It is recommended that you have a written copy of your handover and supply your Development Coordinator/Student Engagement Coordinator with a copy so they have a greater understanding of your role’s activity and can help with any future problems.
· Don't just hand over lots of text, make a visual record too – add in photos, videos, awards. What have you done over the last year?
· Look bigger and produce a historical log and collect examples of good practice over the years
What one bit of advice would you give the new Rep? Put yourself in the incoming Rep’s position – what information would you have wanted at the start of the year? Handovers should be updated throughout the year, so if you encounter a problem, document it. Highlight all aspects of the role, the good, the bad and the awesome.