Preparing For the Worst – Redundancy in Organizations Big and Small

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What do you do when your star employee never comes in again?  It’s a morbid line of questioning to be sure but any sensible manager needs to work under the assumption that key members of staff may not remain with their organization forever.  It is simply a fact of life that people will join and leave organizations.  In the ideal case, they will provide notice of their intent to leave.  But in the worst case scenario there’s no warning – just an empty desk. 

That’s why it is essential to ensure that your company, charity or team has redundancy so that, when the worst happens (or even when a key person leaves on holiday), things don’t come to a crashing halt.  One way to do this is to have overlapping responsibilities amongst the members of your team, allowing one persons role to be undertaken by others should they be unavailable for whatever reason.

Building Redundancy

The most obvious way to get a level of capacity in your organization should the worst happen is, of course, to simply hire a second member of staff.  However, this has significant drawbacks starting with the expense of hiring another colleague.  Other usual recruitment drawbacks also apply – you can never tell how someone will work out in the team until after they start and any new person needs to assimilate into the ethics, values and ways of working that their new workplace requires of them. 

Another alternative well worth considering is to train up the people already working in an organization to be able to cover for one another.  This is especially appealing to managers in small companies and teams who don’t have the budget to simply expand their workforce on a whim. 

People already working within the company have several advantages – a manager already has some idea of their level of competence and has some idea of who might be able to take on new responsibilities and perform them well.  In addition, they have usually adapted to the groups working practices and so there is no period of assimilation into the organizations culture. 

How to Train Your Dragon Assistant Manager.

With the expertise already on your team, it may seem obvious as to who should show the team-member, new or existing, the ropes.  However, teaching is a separate and independent skill set and not all professionals have it.  Unless your resident expert is also an expert trainer, they may struggle to convey the nuances of their role to their new trainee properly. 

That is why it is a good idea to seek out expert assistance to develop the redundancy your business needs.  Distance learning courses, for example, allow your colleagues and subordinates to learn at their own pace depending on the needs of your business.  You gain the benefit of expert knowledge and new ideas for your company via your employee at a competitive rate. 

Losing a key member of staff is a tragedy.  But don’t let the possibility of it cripple your organization – develop your plan to build redundancy into your business strategy through training. 

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