What would you do if your top employee quits tomorrow? It’s not something business owners like to think about, but it happens every day at companies large and small. Unfortunately, no matter how loyal your employees are, there’s no way to predict when someone might leave or need to be terminated.
The solution is a staffing contingency plan: a multi-step process to ensure you’re not caught unawares when an employee leaves. If you don’t yet have a strategic staffing plan for your business, here’s what you need to know.
The Importance of a Strategic Staffing Plan
It’s easy to fall into the trap of relying too much on your current employees: after all, you’ve hopefully hired good, reliable people. But at the end of the day, any one of them could leave without much notice and leave you high and dry.
This results in snap decisions that could force you to hire the wrong person for the job just because you need to fill the position. Developing a strategic staffing plan and investing in the growth of junior staff members is much less painful than not having a qualified replacement or worrying about who might be next to leave.
As I’ve written in a previous blog post, staffing is one of the crucial functions of management. It’s not something to just leave to your HR team—you should be taking a hands-on approach to developing a staffing plan for your business.
The “Always Hiring” Mentality
The first thing to do when developing a strategic staffing plan for your business is to adopt an “always hiring” mentality. It’s vital to begin the process of finding qualified candidates before you ever need them, so there are people on your radar in the event of an emergency hiring situation.
Work with your team to create comprehensive job descriptions for all of your available positions and post your jobs on job boards even when you don’t have an opening. Your goal should be to collect a pool of potential employees that are qualified for the roles you have.
When networking, make a list of people you might want to hire down the line. Keep a file on these candidates and stay in touch with them to gauge whether they’re still interested as time goes on. You can do this by sending a friendly email about your industry’s news, arranging for a chat about their career goals, or even just keeping them up-to-date about potential opportunities your company might have coming soon.
Recruit from Within
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it’s a good idea to evaluate the skills of your current employees before looking for outside candidates. Recruiting from within guarantees you’ll fill the position with someone who is already familiar with the company culture and values.
Take the time to discuss career goals with your junior staff members. You will learn what they want and which ones might be a candidate for future promotion. If you know an employee is interested in advancement, work with them to create a plan of things they should learn or do to give them the necessary experience. Meet with them to review their progress at scheduled intervals.
Create a depth chart for every position in your organization. Your goal should be to have at least one internal candidate and one external candidate from your files for every role. This guarantees you’ll know who to reach out to if a position suddenly opens up and cuts down on the time the hiring process takes.
Having a great team and a full roster determines the ultimate success of your business. Click here for a free copy of my eBook, The 10 Critical Responsibilities of a CEO.