How to Better Manage Employee Transitions with Engagement Led Crossboarding

Posted in Best Practice Thoughts & Culture

Employee transitions should be a valued component in your talent management strategy. Whether forced (organisation change) or voluntary (promotions, project secondments), you want to provide a valuable and enjoyable crossboarding experience to ensure long-term engagement and retention of these employees.

Much like onboarding, employee movements within your organisation require paperwork and administrative tasks, like systems access, reporting arrangements, payroll, and furniture, and other role-specific requirements to ensure the transitioning employee is set up for success from their first day.

When movement is to another team, office, or division, there’s also still a need for manager and team introductions, socialisation, and integration efforts.



There’s a lot to be managed, and a lot that can go wrong. Which is why you should leverage your onboarding software to help you manage this process effectively while providing positive and engaging experiences.

What types of employee transitions require crossboarding?

There are many reasons why your employees may transition to new roles in your organisation and require crossboarding, like:

  • Role changes – to fill skills gaps, key project secondments, career development opportunities
  • Returning to work after parental leave or long-term leave
  • Re-contracting / contract changes
  • Moving between casual, part-time, and full-time / permanent work arrangements
  • Internal structural changes; new divisions or priorities, mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, upsizing
  • Re-deployment, transfers and relocations; between geographic regions or divisions
  • Redundancies and retirement

Why does employee crossboarding need to be better managed?

Many instances of employee transitions can be considered forced movement and change, so it’s critical you manage the crossboarding process effectively. Here are a few of the more common challenges:

Relocation logistics

Changing cities and/or offices will require management of physical logistics, like finding a new home, delivering furniture, cultural changes, new neighbourhood and social environment. Don’t forget the psychological and cultural aspects of such a transition, as your employees may be moving away from family and friends, which can feel isolating.



Psychological and emotional responses to forced movement

Humans are creatures of habit and are naturally resistant to change. Forced change, by redeployment or larger organisational structural changes, can induce emotional distress and vulnerability. Our psychological response to change has been likened to the Kubler-Ross 5-Stage Model of Grief, so it’s important that managers can support employees through this natural human process of;

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

“Transition is the state that change puts people into. The change is external (the different policy, practice, or structure that the leader is trying to bring about), while transition is internal (a psychological reorientation that people have to go through before the change can work.”

William Bridges – Managing Transitions

Poorly-managed transitions trigger negative behavioural changes



When organisations poorly manage internal change and the subsequent employee transitions, they’re more likely to experience:

  • Increased sick days
  • Reduced performance
  • Scapegoating
  • Increased complaints and employee grievances
  • Resignations
  • Reduced engagement, innovation, and initiative.

3 ways to deliver a seamless crossboarding experience

Simply said, treat it like onboarding. Because in most cases, employee movement, whether forced or not, requires new role responsibilities, a new manager and team, new systems and processes, a new office or desk, and potentially even the need for a new favourite café that serves a fine brew (quality matters).

That’s a lot of newness for one to shoulder alone.

Sounds a lot like onboarding a new hire, yes?

#1 Personalise the process



No one wants to feel like a number, like a cow being herded through the slaughterhouse. Aim to acclimatise transitioning employees to their new roles like you would a new employee, by –

  • automating the compliance and administrative tasks (that includes some communications) so necessary forms are completed on time and painlessly,
  • scheduling valuable face-to-face introductions and meetings with team members and key contacts,
  • scheduling performance conversations and goal-setting early, and
  • personalising all communication and information to the individual’s specific needs.

#2 Provide productivity-focused experiences

Change is disruptive and can be demoralising, so you want your employee to return to full productivity asap. Set up automated workflows that efficiently guide employees through the responsibilities, goals, and objectives of their new role and how their personal strengths and experiences align to provide value. Empower them to take ownership.

#3 Connect with personalised, meaningful communication

Just because they’re a current employee with years of tenure doesn’t mean they don’t need to be nurtured and wooed. Process-driven, jargony, emotionless communication needs to dumped for more meaningful conversations.

Create nurturing communications throughout the entire crossboarding process; coach managers to create personalised welcoming experiences, make use of instant messaging platforms to encourage open and informal chatter, and make sure the employee feels valued.

Modern onboarding tech enhances crossboarding experiences, too

With powerful, intuitive onboarding technology like Enboarder, you can streamline your crossboarding process to:

  • automate tasks and compliance paperwork,
  • re-engage returning or displaced employees with personalised, timely, and regular communication,
  • start the engagement process early (before their first day), so they hit the ground running,
  • provide in-time digital coaching to managers so they better support transitioning employees, and
  • monitor their engagement with surveys and feedback requests to ensure their emotional care.

Our customers are already leveraging the Enboarder onboarding platform to create more engaging, memorable, streamlined crossboarding experiences.

Talk to our team to see how it can work for your business.

Become an Enboarder insider!