A company is only as strong as its employees. They are any business’s greatest assets.
However, your team may also be your biggest vulnerability. Sudden vacancies – temporary or permanent – arise when personal crises result in delays, missed deadlines, and lost revenue.
Insure your business against surprises by creating a fully realized workforce.
Step 1: Hire multifaceted people.
Traditionally, an employee would be hired to fill one, specific role. Resumes and interviews focus on the search for a job-specific skill-set. A candidate is selected and that person is brought into the fold and expected to fulfill that one distinct role. For example, your sales department is expanding. Naturally, the candidate with the strongest sales experience is hired. In sixty seconds, her resume is scanned for past sales jobs, the interview is scheduled, and the selection process begins.
But, what if we took more than sixty seconds to scan the resume? What if we looked for more than the specific skill-set we need to fill? To reduce vulnerability, consider the job-specific skill-set to be the baseline for a qualified candidate rather than the end result.
Look for a candidate with skills that would be valuable in several roles: time management, teaching or training experience, public speaking, exemplary writing skills, crisis management, and leadership experience. These skills will prove valuable when a surprise may require an employee to step out of their assigned lane.
Step 2: Get to know your current employees.
How well do you know your employees? Do you know what skills your employees possess beyond their job description? Does your day-to-day business schedule allow for discovery? Look for opportunities to expose hidden talents. Special projects, weekly staff meetings, team-building events, and leadership retreats can all offer discovery opportunities. And, once those talents are uncovered, offer employees chances to develop and use those skills.
Step 3: Consider the job descriptions of your key employees and leaders.
Identify the mission-essential roles within your business, and then review the job descriptions for those roles. If the written description does not include verbiage regarding role flexibility, broad-spectrum responsibilities, and new-skills development, revise those job descriptions at the earliest opportunity. In accordance with annual reviews or ratings may prove to be the perfect time for revisions in order to encourage employees to develop and use skills beyond their assigned role.
Step 4: Train your employees to never stop learning.
Develop a learning culture throughout your organization. From onboarding to quarterly training sessions to regular staff meetings, turn your obligatory training into learning opportunities that benefit both the business and the individual employee.
Encourage employee buy-in with training. Through discovery workshops, employees can offer input for future training sessions, brand the training program, and help the current training program evolve into a learning practice that speaks to the needs of the employees rather than just the needs of the business.
A fully realized workforce is a secure resource.
Yes, crises within the personal lives of your employees will affect their professional lives, but your business does not have to suffer because of those crises. Strengthen your best resource by selecting candidates with diverse skills, discovering hidden talents, setting expectations that encourage role flexibility and lane-crossing, and turn your training into a continuous pursuit of knowledge and new skills. So, when that car wreck, unexpected loss, or long-term illness occurs, you and your employees will be ready.