Training for Employee Cover
In Some Companies Only One Person Can Do a Particular Role
In many businesses, particularly smaller ones, there are likely to be certain tasks and functions which only one person has the knowledge or ability to carry out. Whilst this may work fine for the majority of the time, whenever that person is away from the workplace the task will not get done. If it is a critical component of a process, the entire operations of the business may come to a shuddering halt whilst they are absent.
Examples of important functions which only one person may know how to do include updating the company website, processing payments, accessing the bank account to advise customers that their payment has been received etc. In manufacturing companies where a highly trained and skilled artisan is the only one who can perform a certain task, the whole production line many have to stop when they are not there.
Companies where only one person can do a task are too dependent upon this person and are in a vulnerable position. Whenever they are on holiday or call in sick it can mean that things do not get done which either have negative financial consequences for the company or cause customer unhappiness and complaints when nobody can deal with their queries. Having a website that has dates which have already passed or information which is out of date looks unprofessional and may put off potential customers.
Training Others to Provide Cover
In order to combat this reliance upon a single person the company should train others to do the work. Even if they cannot do the task to as high a standard as the other person or do it as quickly, it will at least allow the company to function until they get back.
Often managers find out the hard way that only one person can do a task... when that person is absent from the workplace for the first time. However an important skill of management is to anticipate problems and take steps before they occur, and managers should attempt to consider what each of their employees does and determine what would not be able to get done if that person was off. They should then implement training to allow others to carry out these duties whenever the need arises. This can also be beneficial if there is a temporary surge in demand which means that the original person requires assistance, as two people are now able to do the task and to share the workload between them to clear any backlog.