In a previous post, we discussed the challenges that come with employee turnover and that those challenges aren’t limited to top-level executives. At any level, employee turnover means losing someone with institutional knowledge, the potential to sidetrack or at least impede progress on ongoing projects, and forcing employers to spend months onboarding replacements.
That challenge is magnified by the high levels of turnover in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the turnover rate across a wide range of industries in the private sector was over 47.4% annually in 2017.
In this post, we’ll discuss some ways to help prepare for the inevitable separation with some portion of your employees.
Have an Inventory of Your Employees’ Responsibilities
This might sound obvious, but in many organizations, it can be a surprise for managers to find out just how many activities their subordinates are responsible for. This is particularly true in matrix organizations, where employees might have responsibilities with a number of different teams across multiple departments.
It’s key to keep track of just what they are doing. A great way to do this is to ask employees to document their regular tasks and responsibilities as part of their quarterly review.
Build in Redundancy
There are two kinds of redundancy we’re talking about here: skills redundancy and experience redundancy. According to Monster.com, the hiring process can be used to complement existing skills within the team to help ease the transition in the event of a departure.
Similarly, employers should be careful not to allow too much crucial knowledge or responsibility to lie with a single person. If that person leaves, you could be in a very bad spot. So, consider cross-training and mentoring to boost redundancy.
Make Training a Replacement Part of the Advancement Process
Many employees are suspicious of efforts to have them train someone to be prepared to do their jobs. It can seem like it’s a way to make them expendable.
One strategy is to make it known to employees that having someone who can step into their shoes is an important consideration for their own advancement. After all, if there’s nobody prepared to step in, you’re not likely to be able to step up!
Employee turnover is a fact of life, but you don’t need to be caught off guard. Here, we’ve talked about some steps to prepare for inevitable employee departures.
In a follow-up post, we’ll discuss how to execute a smooth and efficient transition of responsibilities from a departing employee to a new employee.