One of the biggest hurdles that small business owners face is managing their company’s workload. More often than not, one person is tasked with doing everything- from answering email to running payroll to marketing strategies and more.
As your business grows, so does your job description!
It's easy to get overwhelmed when you add new responsibilities onto your plate every day. Even additional tasks that have been left undone for weeks can feel like an insurmountable task.
Business process handoff or BPH as it’s called, refers to the practice of giving specific jobs to other people in your organization so you can focus on higher level duties. It also means someone else is taking over a piece of work that has been deferred because there was noone available to do it.
In this article we will discuss why business process handoffs are important, how to make them happen, and what steps you should take after a hand off to ensure your success.
As a business leader, you will likely spend a lot of time overseeing different departments and teams. You may even have to manage team members within your own organization!
As part of this process, you’ll need to give other people responsibility for their areas of work while you focus on others.
Handoffs occur when one person takes over another person’s job or responsibilities. For example, if you go on vacation then someone else at your workplace assumes leadership in your place. Or if someone is promoted, they typically take over some of their predecessor’s tasks as well.
It can be tricky deciding who will handle what during these times, so there are certain rules that most employers use. These rules help make sure no one is left out and that everyone knows what is being done with little interruption.
I’ve organized these rules into three categories according to how often we encounter them in everyday life: basic guidelines, formal procedures, and informal practices. Let’s look at each of those now.
As mentioned before, there is no standard way to perform a business process handoff. What company you work for or what industry you are in will determine how they organize these handoffs. Some may have someone else take over completely, some may have your manager or leader do it, and some may even ask you to keep doing things as normal while they find a new person to help oversee changes.
Some very well-known companies use an offshoot department of employees that handle transition management. These departments typically have people who do recruitment, interview scheduling, and employment paperwork/handover procedures.
Other companies may instead choose to have leadership make the necessary shifts and transitions internally or externally. This could be due to budget constraints, lack of trust between leaders, or because the job doesn’t necessarily fit a specific position.
Whatever method is used, making sure everything has been accounted for and that anyone involved knows the other individuals and the responsibilities of their positions is important.
The ever-increasing need for speed in business has led to more frequent handoffs, which can be problematic if not done properly. According to research, one third of all workplace conflicts arise because of improper or delayed handoff procedures.
When individuals work together, they usually have an understanding of what tasks will belong to them and when they’ll do it. But once things get handed off, people may feel like their job is no longer theirs alone — that someone else will take over and responsibility for getting the task completed.
This can create conflict as well as resentment. When this happens frequently, productivity drops and efficiency suffers. Efficiency is lost as each person must spend time proving his or her competence, which takes away from time spent doing other important things.
Handoffs occur when one individual finishes something and hands it off to another individual. For example, when you finish writing an email, you might put your note into inbox mode so that anyone can reply to it, then click “save” and walk around or go about your day.
But sometimes, instead of clicking save, you pick up the document again and begin working on it somewhere else. This is a manual handoff, where you physically give control of the document to the next person.
It’s totally normal to stop working on something and leave some belongings behind, but too many delays can cause stress and headaches.
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest causes of internal workplace conflict is poor or non-existent communication. When you have to relay important information to someone else, your message can be diluted or even lost as they interpret it differently.
What most people refer to as “handoff” may not be what you think. A good handoff should include defining terms, explaining why the other person needs to know, and setting appropriate timelines.
Avoid giving only short notices and leaving the receiver with no idea of what was told to them and when! This creates more questions than answers which usually leads to chaos.
Definition of term: A proper handoff means making sure your recipient understands exactly what you are telling them. Make sure their look is clear, they understand who you are talking about, and that they do not need anything before receiving the info.
Why this is important: If you don’t clearly define concepts, people will assume different ones, creating confusion. This can lead to false assumptions, power struggles, and resentment.
Timeline: Once again, make sure anyone you tell has enough time to prepare for the information.
There are several different ways to do business process handoffs, depending on the size of company, how much control you have over the other team, and your personal style.
In this article, we will talk about some common types of business process handoffs and which ones are effective for each one.
The first type of handoff is what we call parallel work. With parallel work, one person does not necessarily need to directly supervise or oversee the work that someone else has done.
Instead, they coordinate their work, meet up every now and then, and make sure everything is going okay. This way, neither person needs to worry too much about the other one, because they both keep an eye on them.
The second type of handoff is off-site meetings. This can be in a completely separate city, state, or country. People usually agree to hold these meetings outside of home base so that it’s harder to influence the people there.
A third option is digital collaboration. You can collaborate online, using tools such as Google Docs, Slack, or Teams. These are all good alternatives to having a face-to-face meeting.
One of the biggest reasons why internal business process handoff failures occur is because people are not given enough time to prepare for their assignments. People in your organization may be assigned tasks that require expertise in other areas, which they are not trained in yet.
Skill diversification is an important part of developing career pathways, but it can also prove to be a problem when someone gets assigned something they do not have experience doing yet.
By preparing early for these encounters, you will reduce the risk of failure. Being prepared gives you more time to hone your skills and learn new things, which helps prevent mistakes and delays.
A successful handoff depends not only on who does it, but how they do it. Who their support staff is, what level of expertise they have, and whether or not they are in place before you depart can make a big difference in success.
At The Vibe Group, we understand that supporting your business while you’re away means ensuring things run smoothly for your colleagues. And we know first-hand how difficult this can be when you're no longer there to oversee everything!
That's why we've put together some tips for making a smooth transition. From offering career guidance to helping negotiate agreements, we want to help you leave the world behind and focus on growing your business. We also hope these ideas inspire you to give back by serving as an example for others to follow.
Start preparing early
We recommend starting one month prior to your departure to ensure everything has enough time to settle into place. This gives people appropriate notice and time to get all of their assignments done. It also helps avoid any unexpected delays caused by money or logistics.
Make sure your successor is ready
Ensure that anyone taking over your responsibilities has adequate training and resources to succeed. Give them clear instructions and walk them through anything they need to know.
Avoid leaving too much responsibility at the end; instead, identify key tasks and distribute them ahead of time. This way, everyone knows what to expect and can manage their workload more efficiently.
As mentioned before, there is always room for improvement in business processes. Even after someone else has done their part really well, you can still find something they left out or something that could be improved upon.
This is especially true when it comes to handing off tasks to other people. When you are given responsibility, make sure to check into how things were done last time and see if anything looks outdated or needs to be adjusted.
Also, do not assume that everything will work as it did before! People may use different tools than what was used before so check those out and see whether they are effective for your job too.
Make sure to review your own performance as well – sometimes we get lazy and fall into bad habits.
If you notice any errors or lack of effectiveness in helping others, then fix them! Do not let poor collaboration prevent you from getting more jobs or enhancing your career.