Today’s leaders recognize that transitions aren’t going away anytime soon. Rather, they’re an ongoing reality in the modern work environment.  

This point has been driven home by COVID-19, which brought many abrupt transitions into play. Even now, as the pandemic has begun to subside, organizations are rocked by The Great Resignation, a period where team members across the United States have begun reevaluating their priorities. Job vacancies are higher than ever before as many people walk away from their positions or search for new opportunities. In April, as many as four million people quit their jobs. Many organizations are struggling to fill empty positions.

It’s no wonder leaders have begun placing greater importance on building internal competencies and resources to reduce the damage caused by this environment of transition. With the right outlook and planning, transitions can even be leveraged to ensure a healthy work environment. 

Transition Activities Are a Reality, Not a Reaction

Navigating these challenges requires organizations to proactively invest in the idea that transitions are both natural and unavoidable.

A reactive approach to transitioning talent leads to an environment where events often feel disappointing, sudden, and out-of-control. When leaders acknowledge transitions as a continual and essential aspect of running an organization, the environment becomes much healthier.

Leaders need to:

  • Plan for changes before they happen
  • Ensure team members have the competencies to be prepared for changes
  • Place the correct levels of financial resources into the budget

This sends a message to the entire team regarding the legitimacy of transition activities. Rather than a frustration, they become an expected business reality.

Confidence and Clarity Are a Result of Planning

When you decide what you’re going to do in advance, that means you’ll be able to do it. 

Organizations that plan for transition events are more confident about executing those plans in a way that reflects their core culture and values. While dramatic events such as COVID-19 or The Great Resignation still have an impact, preventative planning becomes a powerful way to soften the blows. 

There’s no regret stemming from quickly constructed fixes or inconsistently expressed values. While unique situations might require adjustments, having an overall roadmap protects the cultural fabric of an organization against unneeded trauma.

People Values Are Reinforced

Transition events can be chaotic and uncomfortable. Sometimes they end up having a negative influence on the perception of an organization. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. Transitions can also allow organizations to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to valuing people.

Organizations that understand the competencies needed for leading transitions utilize these tools to foster employee well-being. It’s important to train people for these moments and give them the tools they need to be effective. This allows them to:

This results in team members who possess a sense of security, as well as an investment into the overall health of the organization. Communication is key in this process! People who are left in the dark as to what transitions are occurring, why they’re occurring, and what the organization plans to do about them, are at higher risk for resentment and stress.

Financial Preparedness Empowers Managers to Lead in Real-Time

When resources are built into the annual budgets for transition activities, it allows managers to move more quickly. They’re able to complete layoffs or change out talent that is no longer serving the best interests of the company while avoiding action delays caused by the development and review of funding rationale.

Setting aside funds in advance also gives a sense of security, allowing team members to avoid panic and frustration when those funds are needed.

Transitions Aren’t Going Away

While COVID-19 or The Great Resignation might seem like unique, once-in-a-lifetime occurrences, transitions themselves represent a business truth that is here to stay. Whether they’re planned, or sweep through like a turbulent tornado, they must be handled in a thoughtful and comprehensive way.

Right now, successful leaders are proactively planning for and investing in the necessary resources to manage these transitions well. They know they can’t afford a reactive approach any longer.  

By placing the necessary systems, structure, and competencies in motion early, organizations have what they need to navigate and strategically respond to change. They’re better able to utilize transition moments to gain traction and performance momentum. 

Do you want your organization to thrive through upcoming transitions? Get in touch today!

This is an updated version of a blog post that was originally published July 15, 2015.