Turnover Tuesday: Fix New Management Issues with a New Leader Assimilation Process

Actual Comments of Why Employees Leave
“We got a brand new manager who had no experience in this role. She wasn’t trained well. She didn’t welcome feedback from employees. It made for a very stressful work environment.”

The Solution
A change in manager can easily derail existing employees as they try to understand how to work successfully with their new manager and as we see in this example; could potentially lead to employee turnover. Investing in a New Manager Assimilation process, can easily condense months of time when managers and employees get to know each other into just a few intense hours. New Manager Assimilations work most effectively when facilitated by someone with excellent facilitation and coaching skills.

Here is an outline of a New Manager Assimilation Program that could be put in place to help with new manager issues in the workplace.

1. Preparation.
The facilitator gains the new manager’s support of the process. The facilitator and new manager review questions that will be asked of the team. Normally 4 – 6 questions are reviewed with the team. Sample questions include:
● What do we know about the new manager?
● What don’t we know but would like to know about the new manager?
● What concerns do we have about this person becoming the new manager?
● What are our expectations of the new manager?
● What does the manager need to know about us?
● What are the major problems or challenges the new manager and team will face in the first year?
● What things are going well in the department?

2. Assimilation meeting with the team.
The new manager and facilitator kick off the meeting. The manager welcomes everyone, states commitment for the process, encourages candid responses, and thanks the team for participating in the process. After this, the manager leaves. The facilitator reviews the steps of the process, establishes ground rules, and gains agreement with the team that the meeting will be anonymous. The facilitator then leads the team through the questions and collects information/responses.

3. Feedback with manager.
The facilitator meets separately with the manager to review the information gathered in the session. The manager formulates quality responses to the information presented.

4. Group meeting.
The facilitator, manager and team meet and the manager presents responses to the information provided by going through each of the questions, one by one, and offering comments/reactions. The team is welcome to ask for clarification or provide additional information not previously expressed.

5. Follow-up meetings.
There can be an optional follow-up meeting six months after the initial meetings where the team is asked additional questions such as:
● What is the manager doing that we would like to be continued?
● What should the manager stop doing?
● What should the manager start doing?

The investment in having a process whereby the new manager and team share information, exchange ideas, dispel rumors, and candidly discuss manager issues in the workplace and can help build relationships and ease all through the first weeks as a team adjusts to a new manager.

(Turnover Tuesday is a blog post brought to you by Human Systems Development, an exit interview company that helps other companies reduce employee turnover by providing automated reference checking, exit interviews and by measuring employee retention. The comments this blog is based off of are collected from exit interviews we have conducted in the workplace with ExitRight, HSD’s exit interviewing service. We put the privacy of our clients at the top of our priority list; therefore we keep the names of all involved completely confidential. Return weekly for Turnover Tuesday, to reduce employee turnover within your organization).

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