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How SMEs can deal with losing a key member of staff

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Losing members of your team is bound to happen; it’s a fact of life that cannot be completely prevented. But as with anything for small businesses, the stakes are higher. The departure of one member of a team of ten will be felt much more than one member of a hundred, for example. So it’s important small businesses better prepare for these times.

Here are a few pointers to assist small businesses tackle this hurdle:

Communication, communication, communication

The best thing a small business can do to protect itself against the loss of a team member is to ensure excellent communication and well-integrated teamwork. Engendering an environment that promotes teamwork will mean that all roles in your company are transparent to all. This is critical there shouldnt be a role that can’t be picked up by someone else.

Always try to ensure each senior employee has junior staff who work closely with them. But if thats not feasible, as a manager ensure you know the role that person played that way, if they leave, you mitigate the possibility of your entire company coming to a halt while you’re left in the lurch.

Avoid over-relying on one person

Avoiding over-reliance on one individual helps small businesses avoid making knee-jerk hires. For instance, if you’re panicked about someone leaving you may well recruit quickly, but whilst filling a vacancy in a timely manner is preferred, it should not come at the price of ensuring that you’re hiring the right person for your business.

The team dynamics within a small business are vital and the wrong hire can have a profound effect on your company.

How to avoid hiring the wrong person:

Throwing money at a problem will not solve it

Although it may seem like a quick-fix, in the long-term throwing money at an issue won’t work out. Research has shown that 90per centof employees who accept a counter-offer move after six months. Yes, it may work ten per centof the time, but the fundamental reason for them wanting to resign will most likely still exist. This is where communication and engagement come into play. Creating an integrated and positive company culture that people dont want to leave will help to nurture your talent and avoid unnecessary losses.

Don’t get complacent

We tell candidates to constantly refresh their CVs, even when they’re not looking. Similar advice applies to small businesses. Keep interviewing and meeting with potential candidates even when you’re not actively searching for new employees. It will not only ensure you’re aware of the market and can benchmark the latest skills, it also establishes relationships with quality candidates. Dont think just because you think your team is safe and no one has left yet, that they never will. Be prepared and avoid complacency.

Learn from previous exits to improve your business

Although an upsetting and stressful moment, a key player leaving your company can, in fact, be a real learning curve for companies. Its a chance to apply what youve learnt from previous exits to developing your business. For example, if someone left because they felt there wasnt enough training, it’s your job to pay attention and do something about it. Rather than taking it personally, look at the loss pragmatically to ensure it doesnt happen again for the same reason.

David Bloxham is managing director at GCS Recruitment.



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