In most businesses, there are certain staff who seem indispensable.
Their level of knowledge and skill is impressive and inspiring. You can always rely on them to get the job done and sort out problems. So much so that if they left, there would be a gaping hole.
You may be able to hire in a replacement, but that can take time. And are you missing opportunities to develop your existing staff?
Here are 3 steps to avoid problems when you experience employee turnover:
Staff who are expert in what they do often carry the detail in their minds.
So whether it is a computer based job or an assembly line operation, look at the key tasks in up to 4 layers.
Layer 1: Method - capture what they do, step by step. This can be critical. For example, in an assembly line, subtle hand movements can make all the difference to productivity levels. This analysis can be done on paper, although a video with a voiceover of the key points can save time.
Layer 2: Knowledge - what equipment, programmes and/or supplies are they using? what purpose are they used for? where can you locate them? Not having this information can waste a lot of time on the job.
Layer 3: Faults - how do you recognise a problem? and what do you do about it?
Layer 4: Hazards - Are there any safety issues to be aware of? what safe practices/conditions need to be followed?
Gathering this detail may seem like a lot of work, but is important for key tasks. It will allow you to build training programmes, maintain standards and create job flexibility.
It is a good practice to enable the majority of jobs or tasks in your business to be completed by somebody else if the job holder is absent.
That means planning ahead, and making use of any quiet times to cross train. You can organise this in short bursts of a few hours at a time, or perhaps do a longer period of work shadowing. Some external training may also be needed to fill in any missing gaps.
Again it can be time consuming, but think of it as an investment.
It also helps to keep staff motivated and can generate lots of great ideas for improving standards along the way.
Sometimes people can end up in the same job for years. And sometimes that can lead to demotivation and a lack of fresh thinking.
Consider rotating managers in your business, for example. Ideally a good manager is a team leader who delegates effectively, so a high level of subject knowledge may not always be essential.
If you pinpoint the training gaps in your business and plan ahead for inevitable employee turnover, then the loss of staff will be less of a headache for you.
And your business may enjoy a number of spin off benefits, such as a more flexible, motivated workforce.
Want to learn more? Download our How to Train Others EBook.
Read our latest newsletter - Avoid the Pain of Employee Turnover - 3 Steps to Maintaining Business Performance or view our back issues for more concise tips on practical management skills.