The single most concerning phrase I hear from an employer or manager is that they can’t live without a particular staff member. After I shake my head, my first question is “why”? Now if you tell me that you simply think this employee is great at what they do and that you admire, respect and enjoy working with them – then I commend you for finding such an outstanding employee and I can take a big sigh of relief. However, if you tell me that you have no idea what they do all day long, but that they keep your business running and without them everything would fall apart………I momentarily stop breathing and then let out a huge sigh of frustration. Unfortunately, I hear the latter more often than not and my response is always the same “everyone is in fact replaceable, even you”.
Naturally, this statement is met with resistance, but think of it this way – what if your star employee gets hit by bus tomorrow. Now I know this is a gruesome thought, but the fact is any of your employees can leave at a moment’s notice and you have to be prepared or suffer the consequences. The reality, most suffer the consequences and it sets their business back and the wheel is reinvented over and over again.
STOP reinventing the wheel! Instead, put the policies and procedures in place to make transitioning to new employees a smooth process. Here’s the catch, most employers do not understand the depth of procedures that need to be in place. Your staff does a certain amount of work that is repetitious every day and there is a natural process they are following to achieve their work. Is this process in writing? Has anyone reviewed this process to ensure it is the most efficient way to accomplish the task? Is anyone else on staff aware of how to carry out this particular task? All good questions to ask yourself as an employer or manager. Here is one more – do you understand what needs to be accomplished in the day in order to keep your business operating efficiently? Again, a great question and one that most employers cannot answer. Sure, employers understand the basics of what needs to be accomplished. The beginning and end, but do they really understand what happens in the middle. Most might say it is irrelevant as long as the work is done. And, that is our number one issue. It’s not OK. As an employer or manager, you need to understand every aspect of the business in order to have it be successful and to keep moving forward, avoiding the reinvention of the wheel.
So, we have a lot of thoughts here. A lot of misconceptions. A lot of things that need fixing that may seem overwhelming and intangible. So I ask this one last question – does the average person walk out onto a stage and sing like Whitney Houston, or does the average person walk into a job and become president in a day? Well, some people are naturally talented and can do those things, but for the average person it takes time, practice, studying, more practice and developing a process for success. I promise that if you put in the time up front to outline the procedures, you will reap the rewards of increased productivity and smoother transitions of new staff.
Do something for your business today – that will make it better for tomorrow.
Carol A. D’Agostino, President .