AWOL Employees? How to Deal with Employees Quitting Without Notice by Cross Training Staff

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It happens all the time in business. Monday rolls around and you notice an employee is missing from your team. So, as the HR manager, you call to find out where he or she is, and find out that the employee has decided to go AWOL, which equates to an employee who has moved onto another opportunity without so much as a goodbye.

There’s nothing quite as disheartening as when an employee quits without good reason. It’s also costly, because you’ve already invested time and money into that employee over the course of their employment. Employee turnover is a problem in many industries, and it’s been noted that it can cost as much as half an employee’s annual salary to replace a lost one. It’s unknown how much turnover costs in terms of low employee morale, loss of productivity,  and the time of finding special skills in new talent.

Managing Unexpected Employee Turnover

The good news is that there are ways to prevent high turnover and deal with things when an employee suddenly falls off the radar. As a smart employer, you will want to be mindful of best practices for maintaining the great staff you have now, and planning for the future.

  1. Build an employee skill inventory. Know what special skills and abilities your current employees have, and how they relate to the work each employee does. If you are not sure, take the time to read through your job descriptions and the resumes of your employees. Build a database of skills your employees have, skills that could be attained with training, and skills that need to be recruited for.
  2. Conduct cross-training. If a key employee leaves, where does that leave your business? You may be forced to recruit someone to replace this individual, which reduces productivity at least until you find and train a replacement. Avoid this by cross-training your employees so that they can handle the tasks of other roles. This can reduce the impact your business experiences.
  3. Foster mentoring opportunities. Your long time employees possess a wealth of knowledge and experience from years on the job. When bringing new hires on board, make sure to match them up with mentors who can provide additional training support.
  4. Give monthly training sessions. New things come along all the time in business, and you want your staff to benefit from this knowledge right away. Take the time to conduct short training sessions during monthly staff meetings, or offer this training on-demand with web based training systems. This can give your business the edge and help to increase innovation from within your teams.
  5. Encourage employee collaboration and communication. The more your employees work together on projects and tasks, the more they will be able to jump in and help when an employee departs. Make it a priority to create a work environment that encourages collaborative work styles, and provide a central communication tool such as a project management system or internal email and SMS.

Remember to encourage your management teams to have an open door policy with all employees. This can help to prevent cases of employees quitting without notice because they will be more apt to talk about it with someone beforehand. If this is a common occurrence, take the time to work closely with your managers to identify any concerns that may be leading to turnover.

Have Human Resources questions or concerns you need fast, expert support for? Give SHIFTHR a call today and learn how to better manage the most important asset your business has – your people.

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