People come and go. You must have Plan B ready for when they go

I recently learned that I have a love/hate relationship with Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Facebook. I love how they have streamlined our recruiting process, but I hate how easy they have made it for other employers to hire employees away from my company.

It seems that the days of employees working for one employer for 30 years and then retiring are long gone. I have many examples of feeling like we treated someone well and compensated them in line with the value they brought to our organization, but they still left us. As a business owner, I’m sure many of you have felt the pain of losing a main cog in your wheel.

Here are some ideas about how to make a contingency plan to ensure that your organization does not miss a beat when you experience turnover.

Hire right
If you are a small business owner, you cannot afford the overhead that larger companies can. It’s important that you hire people that have a “whatever it takes” attitude. In addition to employee turnover, employees will go on vacation, be out for surgery, leave for a family emergency and other things. In those moments, if you have someone who is happy to step in and help, your well-oiled machine will keep rolling along.

Cross-train
You can hire the right people, but if you don’t cross-train them, they will be of no use at all. First, identify the most critical functions in your business and who is responsible for them. For example, payroll and billing is a critical function that will put a company out of business if there is no one with that competency.

Once you identify those functions, cross-train at least two people per function. Cross-training existing staff is probably the least expensive contingency plan you can put in place to protect your business.

Internships
A well-thought-out internship program can benefit both the student and the employer. Internships are designed to be an educational experience. However, if your organization is willing to pay the intern, you can benefit by training that person on some lower-level, important daily tasks. Interns are not recommended for a stopgap lasting more than one week, but they can certainly provide some short-term relief.

Vendor support
There are plenty of vendors that can provide temporary labor for accounting, administrative, or recruiting services. Establish those relationships and get some temps trained on your processes long before you need them. One possible outcome of using a staffing firm is that a temporary employee could possibly turn into a permanent hire for your business.

Recently, I’ve had a few moments with personnel turnover where internally I was saying, “I can’t believe he/she is gone. I thought they were going to be here forever.” The second time I was feeling that emotion was the moment I had made a mistake. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t have an adequate contingency plan in place.

Look at your key players. Accept the fact that they will leave you some day. Plan for it, and the employees who stay and your customers are the ones that will benefit from your vision.

Dennis W. Lejeck is the founder and president of Black Knight Security