One day with the previous incumbent in the role and, hopefully, handover notes, containing useful or at least pertinent information. Or in at the deep-end, role vacant, no notes, new line manager expecting you to have several months or years of background information stored in your head to draw on, and for you to get stuck in!
For most of my career I have seldom had a handover and had to rely on the second option above, which is my preferred choice. When I hear of a week planned, I shudder inwardly and probably outwardly too! In my opinion, it is far too long. Often the previous role-holder has already left the building and is just going through the motions and/or your new colleagues pretend you aren’t there and direct all their questions to your predecessor. This situation isn’t helpful for either of you and can make a tricky beginning in your new workplace.
So how does the handover work in the VA world? Should there be notes provided or do you dive straight in?
While as a VA you are expected to hit the ground running, it is vital that you have an in depth first session with your new client to be clear from the start what projects or tasks you are being engaged to complete. This is a different style of handover and helps to set clear expectations for both of you and will also leave room for future development.
Most solo business owners will be used to doing everything themselves, usually why they need you, and all of their processes will often be in their heads and you are unlikely to have handover notes to rely on. This is a good time to write your own ‘handover’ notes as you begin the role and start setting up new processes or following short email instructions, or rough handwritten notes that have been passed to you.
In the long term the notes will be of value for a couple of reasons: you can adapt them for other clients as you may have similar situations in the future; and you can use them yourself when engaging associates for your own holiday cover.
Being a VA, it is more likely that you will be taking on ‘an in at the deep end’ role and for me, this works perfectly!
Which style of handover do you prefer, let me know.