What’s your company’s defense against indispensable employees?
Do you have one? Employers take on significant risks by limiting critical skill sets to just one or two staff members, but in today’s hectic workplace, it often goes unnoticed. That is, until one of these vital bastions of productivity becomes ill, retires, or decides to go elsewhere. The reality is that people leave organizations abruptly and emergency situations crop up, and organizations must be prepared to face these events. While it’s advantageous to have specialists in different areas of the organization, cross training your employees offers many benefits as well. From boosting morale to supporting succession planning and retaining productivity in the face of adversity, having a well-designed cross training program is important for every business. But when it comes to crisis management, cross training is just one piece of the puzzle.
In this article, we’ll share a story that demonstrates this very point.
Back in 2004, The HR Team was a young, growing company. We had eight employees at the time. One person was out on maternity leave and another was on vacation, so we were operating with 75% of our workforce. No problem; we planned for these events and had our cross training processes in place. Things were running like clockwork—until they weren’t. Within just a few hours, one employee suffered a health emergency and ended up in the hospital, while another came down with shingles and was unable to work. Within one day, we had lost 50 percent of our workforce. Particularly for a small company, losing half of your staff in just a few hours typically spells disaster.
So how did we deal with this predicament?
Fortunately, The HR Team was able to handle this crisis situation without it impacting our clients in any significant way.
We pulled together, leveraged our strengths, and came out on top by:
- Having a back-up plan in place. Part of our advance planning for maternity leave and vacations involved documenting the processes for each client. That “bible” was our go-to resource to ensure that we delivered the same high level of service even while we were operating with just 50 percent of our team.
- Identifying potential interim HR staffers ahead of time. Another element of our contingency planning strategy involved creating a pool of temporary workers in the event we needed additional help. They were pre-selected ahead of time, and with just a few calls, we were able to secure the top-notch help we needed to assist in covering our emergency staffing situation.
- Telling our clients the truth. After getting permission from the employees who were impacted by urgent health matters, we explained the situation to our clients. Not only were they very empathetic and appreciative of our candor, they were beyond impressed that we were able to continue to serve them without a hitch. It actually wound up giving us great credibility.
That experience taught us many things.
It reinforced the value of planning ahead and being honest with our customers. It also gave us a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. And guess what? If we can do it, so can you!
Wouldn’t it be great to know that your organization is able to handle any crisis that comes its way? The HR Team’s capable, experienced human resource professionals can help you get there. To learn more, please contact us today.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.