In an industry that is ruled by the power of the references, how you leave a job is just as important as your first day. By doing everything in your power to make the transition to new staff as easy as possible, it will help ensure that your references will stay pure for years to come.
Documentation: the key to successful transitions
No matter how you are leaving a job – through finding a different position or a simple reduction in force – documentation is the best way to prepare the new employee who will be taking the role after you. After all, not every project can be completed before it’s time to go. Documentation of critical projects and where they are makes this potentially chaotic time easier for all parties involved.
Consider all the facts that might be needed:
- Key vendors and their contact information
- Status of both major and minor projects
- Budget controls and how much is remaining
- Pending expenses that haven’t been invoiced yet
- Problems or setbacks for the project
Ideally, you should be working on the household or estate manuals from your very first day. When making your exit strategy, place finishing this book high on your priority list. Even before you have interviewed with an agency, start organizing this essential hand-off for the next staff member.
Not sure what to put in it? Ask yourself this: if you were to die suddenly tomorrow, what would a stranger need to know to run the estate? These could include:
- Maintenance schedules, which have been performed recently and which are due – and when
- Records for key equipment, such as HVAC, Smart Home, security, vehicles, and recreational equipment
- Employee and contractor records
- Security information, such as passwords, keys, and access
- Contact information for the family office, business office, and family
Every household or estate has troublesome areas. Maybe it’s the low spot in the landscaping that floods with every major storm. Maybe it’s a cat that the family loves but has a tendency to shred the drapes. Maybe it’s a guest’s serious food allergy that the personal chef needs to know. Whatever it is, give the new staff a heads-up so they aren’t caught unaware. After all, most people don’t like having to repeat themselves- and that is especially true for the principals. If there is a constant issue that the entire staff knows about but it would blindside an outsider, giving the new person a tip will save them tons of grief.
Another way you can prepare the new staff is to identify the principal’s favorites for them. Whether it is a favorite dish or preferred organization of his wardrobe, let the new man or woman in on as many of the preferences as possible. In the end, all of this preparation is really to help the principals and make sure their needs are met during the transition.
Assuming that you are leaving on good terms – and even if you aren’t – be sure to express gratitude to your former employers. Sending the principals, staff, and vendors thank you letters for your time together can help maintain positive relations even after you have left.
Sometimes writing the letter is the most challenge part of a separation, especially if the termination wasn’t expected. If this is difficult, think of all the things that you have learned from this experience, both good and bad. When writing the letter, focus on the good things. In the end, this exercise will help you reconcile your own feelings while letting you move on, both physically and emotionally.