Do you have an employee with an ambiguous job title? Think of someone who has been with the company for countless years and does a great job, even if you are unsure of what they do. Now imagine losing that employee.

Many companies exist in this kind of limbo-stage, where they are highly reliant on a specific employee, but don’t fully understand their entire job purpose until the employee retires or moves on. As an employer, it is critical that you identify the qualities and tasks put on these employees before you lose them.
While trade secrets are very real, your company should not have any gaps in knowledge between employees. If you were to lose someone who has been doing the same job for 20 years, would you be able to train a replacement? Or would that company knowledge be lost? Included here are a few tips to help you preserve company knowledge and save yourself the struggle of replacing irreplaceable employees.

Identify Company Weaknesses

There are many elements in the day-to-day functioning of a company that can lead to its success or failure. Things like unbalanced workloads, overworked experts or a lack of bench strength can put your company on uncertain footing. Knowing which individuals are the most valuable to your company can help you treat them as such.

Make Changes

When you discover certain employees who have “given their all” to the company, you need to do more than just offer them a nice Christmas bonus (although that is recommended). Employees who do most for your business are likely to have the most in-depth knowledge of how your business functions.

Take time to sit down with these employees and document their daily workloads. Find out exactly what they do, what they know and how these elements can be transferred to others in the workforce. Lightening the load of these employees can help them stay with the company longer and continue contribution.

Train Up The New Generation

If you run a company with an aging workforce, it is critical you are able to transfer their invaluable knowledge to the next generation of employees. After you have identified their skills, talents and strengths, use this knowledge to the best of your ability. Allow new employees to do training on this information and work directly with the expert who is on their way out.

Teaching your new generation of workers how to drive their own continued growth and learning is implicitly valuable to your company. Perform tests and checkpoints that allow you to see how far the new recruits have progressed. Are they able to step in for your experts yet? Training your next group of employees the knowledge of the previous generation will allow your company to remain strong and functional, even through transitions.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.