Succession Planning Series: Week Three – The Indispensable Employee

BlogBusiness EvolutionLeadership Development Posted: Tuesday 14th July 2015 by

Every small business has one, or maybe even more than one – the person in your management team that seems to hold everything together, the one that the business relies on for pretty much everything. Although indispensable employees may seem to be worth their weight in gold, by the very nature of their level of expertise, they can actually cause serious bottlenecks, especially in a smaller organisation.

Then of course there is the question of what happens if your indispensable employee were to leave, or win the lottery, or in the worst of circumstances be incapacitated on a long term basis through either ill health, or even death?

Cross Train & Upskill for Long Term Success

Cross Training and Upskilling 

No-one in your entire business should be indispensable. No matter what your industry, no business can afford to lose key talent at a critical juncture, but it can and does occur. Through effective cross-training and upskilling, you can minimise the risk to your business should anything happen to those that you rely on the most.

Other than protecting your business from your indispensable employees, cross-training can have multiple benefits across the whole organisation, such as:

  • Help your indispensable employees to take on other work and move away from the tasks that make them indispensable, and therefore lower the threat of boredom
  • Develop your team’s capacity and increase internal flexibility, enabling them to deal with more challenging projects and workloads
  • Support your junior staff with their career journeys; build a company culture of internal promotion
  • Promote teamwork across the business and provide everyone with the opportunity to build relationships outside of their normal remit

Remove the Threat of Key People

If your company is overly dependent on key people, then it could mean that a wider and deeper problem for your business is brewing under the surface – an overall lack of talent.

There is a huge difference between genuine top-tier talent and those that have made themselves indispensable through arrogance or happenstance. In order to differentiate your true talent from the prima-donnas and empire builders, it is important to eliminate dependency on your ‘key’ people.

By removing the ability for one person to hold ultimate dominion over anything that may be considered business critical, and by fostering a knowledge-sharing, coaching culture from the top down, you will automatically begin to increase the talent pool across the entire organisation, for a healthy, balanced business.

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For help with your succession planning requirements or for more information, call Human Results on 01952 288361 for a no obligation, confidential discussion.

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