Decision-makers at your business probably take steps to avoid employee turnover and make the work environment appealing for current and potential employees. Those things are essential, but maybe you lack another crucial element — an employee backup plan.
What Is an Employee Backup Plan?
An employee backup plan consists of thoughtful arrangements made in case a key employee suddenly quits or becomes unable to work. People often think of replacements in terms of succession plans.
However, you should also think more broadly about creating plans so that your company can stay resilient if an employee unexpectedly leaves, or you find the organization’s operations are overly dependent on particular people.
Now, let’s look at why this kind of planning will likely factor into 2021 employment trends and why you need to strongly consider having backups.
An Extremely Valuable Employee Could Simultaneously Be a Threat and an Asset
One compelling reason to think about how you could manage without certain employees is that those people could use their skills and knowledge to make demands and threaten to disrupt operations if company leaders do not meet them.
Consider the situation where an IT department employee cut off access to vital files and demanded $50,000 in cash and a promotion before restoring the availability. In less extreme circumstances, someone’s boss may agree to give them a raise or advance their position, but primarily because they feel they cannot afford to lose the employee — not because the worker’s performance merits such recognition.
Creating a backup plan for employees ensures you’ll avoid getting into a position where you feel desperate to keep a worker at the company. Thinking strategically about the future prevents you from going to extreme lengths to meet employee requests so that those people don’t leave.
A Global Health Threat Shifted People’s Priorities
The COVID-19 pandemic caused people around the world to lose their jobs temporarily or permanently. Something that may surprise you is that 2.8 million people in the United States voluntarily quit their jobs in August 2020.
Numerous reasons undoubtedly caused them to take that route, but there’s a good chance the pandemic caused people to reevaluate what was most important to them. Many also quit work to address complications brought about by lockdowns and surging virus numbers.
Perhaps a business leader’s 90-year-old mother lived in a nursing home with a high number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities. Such circumstances may be enough to cause the workforce member to decide that the best approach is to quit a job and have their mother come to live with them in a safer environment.
Alternatively, someone who has felt persistently frustrated with their job may realize that the pandemic reminded them that life is too short to tolerate immensely dissatisfying work arrangements. Maybe COVID-19 solidified a decision they’d been mulling for a while.
This change in priorities will likely influence many 2021 employment trends. No one knows when life will return to relative normalcy after the pandemic. As the health threat persists, people are choosing different priorities.
Creating a Backup Plan Helps New Employees Ease Into Roles
Two of the main strategies when making a backup plan for employees are cross-training existing workers or determining how fast you could hire replacements from the job market. However, getting ready for the possibility of workers leaving requires doing more than filling roles. It also involves doing what you can to get the new people well-equipped for their positions.
Individuals will be more productive and successful in those ventures if you help them reduce their reliance on others. For example, providing screenshots with your instructions or adding helpful links to make their workflows more efficient can help people hit the ground running.
Creating a list of external and internal contacts for someone to reach out to for further help is also a smart move. When making a replacement plan for yourself, think about the people you would most likely connect with to get help when needed. However, be sure to contact those people before making them a part of your plan. They need to know that workers may call upon them for assistance.
Making these preparations is worthwhile because it minimizes the disruptions that would otherwise happen during a major transition. That advantage supports the business and the people tasked with filling a new role to compensate for someone’s absence.
People May Leave Because of Safety Concerns Coupled With Career Change Desires
COVID-19 caused many workers to conclude that they had to leave their jobs because it was unsafe to stay in them. Although many employers took the novel coronavirus seriously and did everything they could to keep people safe, unfortunately, this was not true across the board.
Research indicated a desire to stay safe pushed many people to quit their jobs recently. Some disapproved of how management handled the crisis at their companies. Others felt alarmed at the business’s failure to provide adequate protective equipment.
Safety issues could also stem from an employee’s circumstances rather than a company’s shortcomings. Maybe they’re severely immunocompromised and received doctor’s orders to stay at home as much as possible until virus transmission rates significantly decrease. If that person has a customer-facing role that they cannot do remotely, such specifications may convince them to make a complete career change.
Statistics show that although the coronavirus hit many industries hard, some are doing well, and companies are continuing to hire. Public health advisor roles saw a 59% increase, while IT specialist positions increased by 33%. These shifts may encourage people to return to education and seek new work.
Preparation Promotes Prosperity
You may not have thought about having an employee backup plan before, but now realize you cannot go without one in 2021. That’s a wise conclusion, especially because preparing your company to go through personnel changes could help it prosper.