Saying goodbye to team members and welcoming new ones: the challenges of successfully navigating staff change

One person enters a door on the left door another person leaves a door on the right carrying a box of belongings

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Time to turn the page

The team at Education in Chemistry is changing. We’re saying goodbye to Debbie, EiC’s dedicated assistant editor after two and a half years. Debbie has been instrumental in many aspects of the magazine, not least the In my classroom articles and our reader survey.

As we say goodbye to Debbie, we’re welcoming Georgia to the EiC team full time. Georgia has been with the RSC Education team for nigh on three years, and has previously worked across the Teaching resources and EiC teams.

We wish leavers well and welcome new team members with a carefully curated schedule of meetings and experiences – as well as cake

We’ll also say hello to a new editorial assistant over the summer. But these aren’t the only changes.

Our editorial board is changing too. Kristy Turner is leaving the board after nine years. We’re welcoming two co-chairs, Jo Haywood and Harry Lord, both of whom have been board members for several years.

Teacher transitions

Planning for these transitions has made us wonder how you handle staff changes in your school. What plans do you put in place when team members are leaving, changing role or joining?

At EiC, handling staff change is relatively easy. We wish leavers well – usually with copious amounts of cake. And we welcome new team members with a carefully curated schedule of meetings and experiences – as well as cake – to ensure the learning curve isn’t too steep. We also involve various colleagues as mentors and buddies. Of course, we don’t have the added complication of being in front of an audience of learners all the time. In fact, most new EiC team members won’t face their audience of teachers and educators in the first couple of months – unless you’re Georgia who went to her first conference in her first week as the magazine’s assistant editor.

Some schools use exit interviews with those leaving to inform their future policies, and some use stay interviews to learn why staff choose to remain at their school. What strategies inform your approach to staff change? I for one am intrigued as to how you manage the learning curve when teachers have to be in the classroom on the first teaching day of term.

And what do you do within your departments to say goodbye to team members and to welcome new ones? Do you rely on copious amounts of cake, like we do, and a plan of meetings and learning opportunities with mentors and buddies? We’d love to know – and we’d love to know how we can help you plan for these changes.

Lisa Clatworthy, editor