As I walked into the training center of a large oil company a few years ago, an unfamiliar face greeted me. “Hi, I’m Dale,” he said. “I hope somebody has already told you where to go and has discussed setup, because I have no idea.”
“Jessie’s out today?” I asked. My client contact hadn’t told me he wouldn’t be doing the typical introduction to my session.
“Jessie’s gone. But he’ll be back in 30 days––probably at twice his old salary.”
Dale noticed my puzzled expression and continued to explain: “Friday was his last day…. He left a big gap. Been here 35 years…. He taught most all the executive-level programs.”
“Hmmm. I didn’t know that.”
“Yep. He walked out with about 50 courses.” Dale gestured toward his own graying temples. “All up here. In his head. No time to write leader guides. So now that he’s gone, we’re having to hire him back as a consultant to collect and record all that knowledge.”
Such situations haven’t changed all that much. Despite technology advances, blending learning, and ongoing efforts to build content databases across the organization, erosion and loss still happen.
Okay, so you’ve heard it before—the mandate to build bench strength on your team.
The update: We’ve moved to the red-alert stage!
Baby Boomers continue to leave the workforce in droves, and that exit will last until 2030. Routine retirements take 1.3 million Americans (age 64 and older) out of the workforce each year, and another 630,000 left in 2022 because of early retirement.
And those who don’t retire, don’t plan to quit quitting any time soon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly one-third of all workers changed jobs in 2022. The situation may be more critical this year. According to a survey cited in Fortune (Dec 21, 2022), nearly half of workers say they plan to find a new job in 2023.
Despite inflation and a potential recession looming ahead, others on your team are likely keeping their resumes updated just in case a position offering better pay, greater fulfillment, expanded flexibility, or more growth opportunities pops up on the horizon.
Of course, you already have long-term strategies for building bench strength five- or ten years out—increased diversity, benefits to appeal to the five generations in the workforce, skills-based recruitment efforts versus experience-based recruitment. (You do have those plans in place, right? Of course, you do; you’re at the top of your game!)
So strategies aside, the following ideas should help with the immediate day-to-day tactical headaches of unexpected resignations and the operational glitches that result:
S = Summary: 1- or 2-sentence overview of the client/coworker interaction or situation
A = Action Taken. State what you’ve done to correct a problem or move a project forward.
A = Action Pending. List next steps that either you or another person plans to take, based on the summary.
D = Details. Add pertinent details to help someone understand what has been done or needs to be done to follow up in the situation (in case the writer of SAAD gets hit by the proverbial bus).
Definitely this task of making clear, concise notes to increase personal productivity companywide (saving both writing and reading time) is NOT a tactical task that should be turned over to ChatGPT!
So what do you need either to start or stop (or speed up, if already in process)?
Learn more ways to work with your team to build core strengths with Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done