Where Oh Where Did Our Information Go: What Happens When An Employee is Gone

Where Oh Where Did Our Information Go: What Happens When An Employee is Gone

Good morning all! Where is Steve? Did he call out today? He didn’t call at all? Sandy can you call his home to see if he is OK? “Boss, I called Steve, his wife told me that he is at work at his new company today.” Did any of you know this was going on? Steve never told us he was leaving.

The Service Man a binoculars watching. 3D Salesmen CharacterAs the Boss you get that queasy feeling and realize that Steve was with you (8) eight years and you had no idea of how he ran his department, where he kept vital information and now the hunt is on!

Searching through emails, digital files and hard copy files can cost a company thousands of dollars in wasted time and productivity. Let’s factor in the high level of stress and tension felt by employees across all departments in the company (“Has anyone seen the _______?”)

It’s crazy I know, but many companies, large and small and across a vast diversity of industries operate by the proverbial seat of their pants. When everything is working smoothly it’s fantastic, and when it’s not, everyone goes into a tailspin. Stress escalates, tempers flair, time and money are wasted and that stress can happen even when there’s just a simple search for a document that can’t be located in a file cabinet or a desktop.

Imagine what happens in the scenario above when a key individual walks out without warning and the company’s important information, the very details, (ex. processes and procedures) that keep the departments running efficiently, resided only in the employee’s brain; now the employee is gone.

Stress Thermometer Overwhelming Too Much Work LoadGone without any warning or much warning anyway.

Clearly there are steps that you can (must!) take to ensure that this situation doesn’t befall your company and negatively impact bottom-line. Here’s what I mean:

Document the knowledge that resides in your employee’s heads. When a key employee leaves the company they may take with them much of the information critical to the successful execution of the tasks for which they, and their department, were responsible. The impact can be highly disruptive. The key is to document these tasks BEFORE an employee leaves so that when someone exits the firm, their tasks and responsibilities can be more smoothly transferred to someone else.

And documentation shouldn’t be relevant only when an employee is gone. Sometimes long-term employees do their job “their way” and quite frankly “their way” might not be the most effective and efficient. Documenting processes makes for smooth operations and a cohesive infrastructure that are sometimes absent when the company model is “because that’s the way it has always been done.”

Plan Ahead Beats No Planning in Overcoming Problem CrisisAnd lastly if you are making any sort of capital investment in real estate or technology a thorough investigation of the firm’s infrastructure (people, processes and procedures), should be undertaken to ensure that your investment will be successfully actualized. It’s at these times that documentation can save you from an unnecessary investment.

Bottom-line an ounce of prevention and all that. Make certain to document all of your critical information and be safe and secure in the event of an employee leaving the company.

From the June 2014 Unique Business Solutions Newsletter

For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, gail@ubsassociates.com or call (516) 935-5641.

June 3, 2014