New Team, Same Company: How to Transition to Your New Role

When moving to a new role at the same company, it’s important to create a transition plan, understand your responsibilities and expectations and get to know your new team.

Uno reverse card/Taylor Tieden for BioSpace

It’s not always easy to move into a new role at your company, especially if it involves changing teams. You can face multiple challenges, including your old team asking questions or requesting favors related to your previous position while you’re trying to settle into your new job.

There are a few ways to make your transition smoother, according to YulyMae DiNapoli, vice president of human resources at Cytokinetics. The process starts with telling your manager you’re moving to a new team.

Breaking the News to Your Manager

To leave on good terms and avoid an awkward situation, DiNapoli told BioSpace that when you share the news that you’ve taken another role, you should also offer to partner on creating a transition plan. Transition plans provide critical information about people’s roles and responsibilities so their successors can take over their positions as smoothly as possible.

In addition to partnering on that plan, DiNapoli recommended you offer to train your replacement. If you have to start your new job before your current one is filled, she said it’s helpful if your current and new managers collaborate on how both teams can deliver on the work that needs to get done. For example, she said, if everyone’s comfortable with it, including you, you could help your old team for a set number of hours each week until your current boss fills your position.

Creating the Transition Plan

Regarding the transition plan itself, DiNapoli recommended it should cover topics such as your projects’ status, where you store documents, your key contacts and who current team members, other departments and external partners should contact instead of you moving forward.

DiNapoli noted the transition process should include deciding how you’ll notify external partners, including vendors, about your departure. Should that message come from you or your manager?

The transition plan will be important for you and your current team members, according to DiNapoli. As she noted, if you don’t have a plan in place, “they’re going to be reaching out to you in your new role, and that doesn’t feel good where you’re trying to learn your new role, and then you’re trying to do your old role.”

DiNapoli recommended setting boundaries around what your current team members can ask of you related to the role you’re leaving so you can focus on your new position. Your team needs to learn how to survive without you, she explained. Otherwise, you’ll feel like you’re stuck between two roles.

“They’ll continue to go to that same person, because they’ve been accustomed to getting the response, the help from that person,” she said.

Once your successor is in place, DiNapoli recommended pointing people in that person’s direction. You can remind them, “Another person’s in that role now. And to be fair to that person, you really should be going to that person.”

Meeting With Your New Manager

To help you transition to your new role, DiNapoli advised meeting with your new manager after you accept it. This will prepare you for success in a few ways, including helping you clearly understand your upcoming responsibilities. Ideally, DiNapoli noted, you learned what the position entails when you first looked into it, perhaps by reading the job description or during an interview. In that case, she said, you should ensure expectations haven’t changed from your initial understanding of the role.

DiNapoli said it’s also important to discuss:

  • Your individual goals
  • Department goals
  • What success looks like in your new role
  • What’s expected of you in your first two weeks
  • What’s expected of you for your first 30, 60 and 90 days

When it comes to knowing what’s expected of you, DiNapoli recommended being proactive. Don’t just wait for your manager to tell you what you need to know. Ask questions.

She also advised there may not be a great training plan set up for you on your new team. In fact, she noted, if you’re at a more senior level of the company, your new manager might assume you already know what to do in certain areas. With all of that in mind, she recommended asking your boss what support you can get to learn your role, what training will look like and if your predecessor—if there is one—will do a handoff to you before they move on.

Getting to Know Your New Team

In addition to meeting with your new manager, you should also meet with your new team members, according to DiNapoli. She noted that even if you already know them, it’s helpful to schedule one-on-one time so you can understand their roles. She said to look at these interactions as discovery meetings.

“You’re familiar with your old team, now you’re coming into a new team,” DiNapoli said. “You can’t necessarily just bring what you had from your old team and assume that’s how people operate or how that group operates.”

Ask what your new team members like about their roles, the challenges they’re facing and how you’d partner with them, DiNapoli recommended. Learn what your working relationship will be like. You can even ask your new team members for advice about your new role, DiNapoli said, suggesting a question like “What do you think I can do to be successful?”

Once you start working together, DiNapoli advised observing and listening rather than assessing what’s not working and talking about how you’re going to change things.

“I think that first couple weeks is really getting a handle on how that new team works, how that department operates,” she said.

Asking for Feedback

As you settle into your new role, DiNapoli recommended requesting feedback from your team. For example, she said, you can ask your manager how you’re doing and to assess your progress. She advised asking team members questions such as “How am I doing collaborating?”

Proactively seeking feedback can help you get valuable input on what you’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement, easing your transition into your new role and helping set you up for long-term success.

Angela Gabriel is content manager, life sciences careers, at BioSpace. You can reach her at angela.gabriel@biospace.com and follow her on LinkedIn.

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Angela Gabriel is content manager, life sciences careers, at BioSpace. You can reach her at angela.gabriel@biospace.com and follow her on LinkedIn.
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