Transitioning Staff: Sink or Swim, or Support and Strengthen?



The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

It’s that time of the year when staff return from their break. Some slot-back into familiar roles, whilst others may be transitioning into different roles or responsibilities.

I have experienced completely different transitions within the same workplace.

The first involved entering a new role within a new work environment. Due to the fact that I didn’t have any leave up my sleeve I was expected to be there very shortly after New Years. I was introduced to people, handed a large pile of documents to read by my then manager, then left to my own devices for a week until people started returning from their xmas break. It was then that someone took me under their wing and showed me the ropes.

The second experience involved transitioning back into work after a break. The manager arranged a welcome-back morning tea with my colleagues and we sat for an hour sharing our stories and reconnecting.

The first experience left me feeling isolated, unsure of myself, and lost. The second enabled me to connect, relax and feel as though I mattered as a human-being.

Transitioning occurs constantly and in different forms; from beginning new jobs or roles, to learning a new task, or even changing workspaces. My wondering is, how well are we supporting and strengthening people versus dumping them in it and seeing if they will sink or swim.

Within the realm of ‘onboarding’ - the introduction of new staff to an organisation, the following Australian-based- statistics were interesting reading…


  • As leaders, what are you doing to support people to experience seamless transitions?

  • Furthermore, as educational leaders, what are you doing to support seamless transitions of students into and within your learning environment?

Go well this week :-)