You may have a fabulous team in place, none of whom show any intent of leaving anytime soon. But what happens if someone does quit abruptly? How will you ensure that your team gets its work done when it’s short a member? Do you have a contingency hiring plan ready to put into action?
Why You Need a Plan
Consider how long it’s taken you typically to hire the right candidate. It’s not a fast process. A typical search could take anywhere from two weeks to three months (or more!) to fill, depending on the difficulty of the search. Add to that the interview process (calculate another two weeks if you really push it through quickly) and at least two weeks for your new hire to give her notice.
Your best case scenario is getting someone on board in 4-6 weeks from launching your search, though it can take much longer. Having a plan in place can help you make sure work still gets done in the office, even if one of your key employees is gone.
Step 1: Decide Who Else Can Do the Work
If you have departments at your company, chances are someone else can pick up the slack if one employee exits. Cross-train your staff so that each can take on additional tasks of her co-workers. That way, if you find yourself short an employee, you don’t let the work level fall.
Step 2: Create Training Manuals
Every role you hire for should have a training manual. Primarily, the purpose is to help onboard a new hire, but if someone else needs to temporarily take over responsibilities, this will be a big help. The manuals should outline all tasks this person is responsible for, and include passwords for websites she commonly uses, as well as detailed instructions.
Step 3: Ask for an Exit Plan
If you have an employee put in her notice (typical, but you shouldn’t necessarily expect it), ask her to make it easy on you to get someone new in. Have her responsibilities changed? Can she update the manual? Can she make sure someone else takes over all of the current projects she has going on? If she is a good employee, she won’t mind doing this for you.
Step 4: Look at Temporary Options
If you’re slammed in the office and can’t afford to be short a staff member for the weeks it will take to search for, hire, and train someone new, consider bringing in a freelance hire. Freelancers can help keep the clients happy while you search. And who knows, she may even turn into your fulltime hire.
Step 5: Talk to Your Recruiter
If you frequently use a recruiter, she’ll have a sense of how long it will take to bring on a new employee, and may be able to make suggestions on what to do if you’re short a team member. If the recruiter specializes in the industry, she could quickly identify potential candidates and may even know someone immediately for you to start the interview process.
Step 6: Talk to Your Team
You’re putting undue stress on your team when one employee leaves and you don’t explain your plan to bring in someone new. Talk to your staff and explain that the process for finding the right hire will take time, and ask for their patience. They may even know someone to recommend.