Are you considering resigning from the organisation you work with or you are about to go on a long leave? Then, hand over notes are required to be written. This is necessary as it is a major tool that the successor goes through to have a better understanding of his functions. With this, there will be no disruption in the flow of activities as a result of the absence of the predecessor. So, whether you need sample handing over notes or you are in search of ideas on how to write a hand over note, this article is written with you in mind. As you read through, you will discover different types of hand over notes that can be written and the basic steps that should be followed while writing.
A hand over note is a report that gives a summary of the activities carried out in an office or a position. It is a document that an employee who is about to leave his or her position, temporarily or permanently, writes to serve as a guide to a successor so that the workflow is not affected. It can also be written when there is the need to share job functions or there is a work assignment for a short period of time. When there is a transfer or the need for an employee to compulsorily retire, then a hand over note can also be considered to be written.
In essence, hand over notes are often required because they are written to give a summary report of the work that a person has done. This will help another employee taking over to understand the state of things and where to continue from.
Purpose of handing over notes
Hand over notes help transitioning between employees to be very easy. At least, all the important information that will guide the new employee taking over would have been captured in the report. The information contained in a hand over note has to do with important things to note so as to keep the work environment effectively running. Some of the information includes the process and procedure in which certain work or functions are performed; an ongoing project that needs to continue and the process to follow in its continuation. Specifically, the following are the purposes for which handing over notes are written:
- A hand over note helps a new employee in a position to understand the scope of his duties and the state of things in the department where he is to operate in.
- It is written to give a brief of what has been done and what is expected to be done as well.
- It can serve as a guide or a point of reference especially when an employee is stuck up in the process of performing his job functions.
- Hand over notes can help a new employee to understand peculiar problems that are associated with that position and possible ways through which they can be stopped or managed.
- They are also written to help the successor appraise the approach of the predecessor. This will help the new employee to make an informed decision as to whether to continue with the approach or change it so as to increase the level of the result achieved.
- Because of the risk that is associated with an employee who is leaving in terms of the knowledge and the experience that they are leaving with, handing over notes are needed. This will help to reduce the risk and also serve as a means of transiting the knowledge to the successor.
Importance of handing over notes in project management
Project handing over notes are very important in project management. After all, the essence of managing projects is to ensure that the stakeholder gets to accept the project result. By accepting the result, it means that he approves of the quality specifications spelled out in the project parameters. Although, there are cases when the project would be yet to be completed and it is necessary that the project should be delivered like that or transferred to another, hence, the need for handing over notes. So, let us take a look at some of the reasons why a proper handing over note must be written.
- It is essential to measure the progress level and the degree to which the project parameters have been followed and achieved in the process.
- It can be used to lay the foundation for quality as well as history for the entire project. Irrespective of who the handing over note is written to, with a proper handing over note, it is easy to trace the start-up phase of the project and monitor the progression of execution.
- A handing over note also helps to capture the lessons that have been learned and even the success made in the process of executing the project. With this, the information can be shared with the community of project managers in lieu of helping them hand over more projects successfully.
- It contains some of the changes that were requested for in the process of executing the project as against what is obtainable in the documented criteria of operation/performance for the project. A good handing over note helps the project team or the stakeholder to recognise the changes that occurred as well as the effect of those changes on the project at hand.
- Especially if the handing over note is written for a new team that is taking up the project or whatever the case may be, it is important as it can serve as a user manual to the successor. By user manual, it means the level to which the standard operating procedure for the project has been followed would be enumerated.
The format for writing handing over notes
Before talking about the format in which handing over notes can be written, it is important to note that there are different handing over notes that can be written. There are various fields or professions where handing over notes are usually required. For instance, it is possible that someone working in a church will be asked to write church handing over notes. An accountant can also be instructed to write accountant handing over notes.
Moreover, an employee working in an organisation can also be requested to write handing over notes for leave especially if he or she is going on a long-time leave. However, while each of these handing notes procedure may vary, there are basic steps or points that must be present in every handing over note. These basic steps which are involved in writing handing over notes are discussed below.
1. The introduction
The handing over notes should carry a brief description as to what the report is all about. For instance, the first thing you will start with is to address the handing over note. You need to state the source from where the note is originating from and for whom it is intended. While you are writing, ensure to add the date of writing to it. Here is a sample handing over notes introductory part to have a better understanding:
To: Agabagebe Juliet (Credit Analyst)
Cc: General Manager, Head of Marketing & Sales
From: Ojulari Sylvester (Acting BM-Agidimgbi)
Date: 16th January 2020
After you have done this, don't forget to write the purpose of the note captioned in a headline. In this case, you will write "Handing over note."
2. Summarise the duties or tasks undertaken there
It is important for you to summarise all that you have done so far while you were occupying that position or office. Then, you need to state the responsibilities that are attached to the position. This will enable your successor to know the progression of things and discover the things that are expected of him or her to do. While doing this, remember to state how his responsibilities connect to the entire organisation and the impact on the achievement of the corporate goals. You can have something like this:
As the Production Manager, your major task is to ensure that the production specs are followed to letter. This is because there are a few occasions when your production staff members would want to go the other way round. An on-the-job supervision is very important so that, in the end, what is expected is what is produced. Your job function also entails that you work with the Purchase, Maintenance, Quality control, and the Sales departments, among others. Your departmental activities are closely linked with these mentioned departments.
3. Highlight key daily tasks
Apart from stating the duties that are attached to the position, you also need to highlight the key activities that must be carried out on a daily basis. This will help the new person to understand what is expected of him to do every day so that the workflow is not affected in the long run. As much as possible, mention the difficult aspects of the job so that he will be better prepared for the challenges ahead.
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4. Outline routinary activities
Apart from stating the daily tasks that must be carried out, if there are fixed processes or ways of carrying out certain duties, you need to describe them as well. Outline different meetings that you attend or organise in the unit, the time, venue and how frequent you do them. State also the nature of the meetings. For example, you could write something like this:
There is a bi-monthly departmental meeting that is held on the 1st Monday and third Wednesday of every month at room 0123 at 10:00 a.m. It is at this meeting that you appraise the performance of your team members and come up with strategies for a better performance.
5. Make a list of key people to contact or interact with
Are there clients, customers, stakeholders or managers that the person needs to contact in the process of carrying out his duties? Ensure that you state them all. If there are people he needs to contact or approach before any major decisions are made, let him know. Be as detailed as possible here to make sure that he does not get confused at any major juncture. This will help to further strengthen the bond of relationship that already exists.
To increase your daily production output, get the Maintenance department to service the equipment on a minimum of two weeks interval. Then, check through every delivery of raw materials to the department with the Quality Control Manager so as to ensure that the right specs are delivered. Then, before products are moved to the Sales department, ensure that you get approval from the General Manager.
6. Access to relevant information and other housekeeping
Are there documents he needs to consult from time to time or books he needs to read? Ensure that you have a detailed directory of where they are located. State where he can get items in case he needs to replace anything. Whatever passwords or logins he needs to have, write them out. Then, remember to put the location of where he could get certain keys, tools and so on.
7. State ongoing and/or pending matters
If you have certain projects that you have embarked on but you are yet to complete, remember to mention them. Also, if you have transactions that are pending, list them all. Make sure that you include vital information like the start date and the employees that are involved in the project. More so, include information relating to cost and budget together with the proposed date of completion. Let him know both the short-term and long-term projects that you have.
8. Peculiar challenges
If there are certain challenges that are inevitable, state them all. Let him know the ones you overcame and how you handled them, as well as those that you are yet to overcome. Then, whatever pieces of advice that you may have for him, write them also. Any other information that you know is important for him to effectively discharge his duties, don't hoard them.
Having discussed the steps involved in writing handing over notes, if you are thinking of a quick method that you can follow while writing yours, the good thing is that there are numerous handing over notes template that you can find online. If you check through Google, you will find quite a number of options from which you can make your choice.
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Source: Yen Ghana