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How to Reduce Key Person Dependency

As a business owner you may have thought about key person dependency, and you may have even mapped out your single point of failures that could affect your business.  Your team is one of your greatest assets, but if you rely too heavily on one or two team members, you are opening yourself up to risk. By strengthening your team, you reduce your reliance on individuals. You’ve worked so hard to build up your company, communicate your brand, and deliver excellent service. If your key person leaves the company, you will feel the loss across all critical indicators. Productivity will decrease as the rest of your team tries to fill the gap. Your team will end up making errors as they try to quickly learn the tasks, service and response times will suffer.

There are many reasons for a team member to step out of their role: illness, vacation, family emergency, early retirement, or moving onto a new job. Most of the time, this will happen without much warning! While it is hard to imagine your business without your top-performers, it is time to reduce your key person dependency risk!

 

Streamline communication to reduce key person dependency

If clients communicate directly with an individual and that team member leaves, clients will experience an interruption in service.  It is difficult to gain access to a personal email of a former employee. However, if you have a general service desk email (i.e. support@company.com), your clients can be confident one of your team members will take care of them. If one of your team members needs to step away from the business, it is easier to fill the gap. 

 

Keep updated client profiles

When clients communicate a request or a problem, keep that information updated in your client’s profile. When another member of your team has to take over managing some accounts, they can smoothly transition with less errors.  Each client has their own unique needs.  Delighting them with this high level of service will grant you repeat business and referrals. 

 

Document your core processes from each key person

There are key processes that your business completes to deliver your exceptional product or service.  One of the most important ways to reduce key person dependency is to have these processes documented. Having a manual for each of your most important tasks will ensure any new team member has the tools they need to succeed. This will save you time, as well as reduce the amount of errors that will affect your clients. 

 

Cross-train your team (or consider outsourcing)

Creating a culture of collaboration and having regularly scheduled team meetings can assist in spreading critical knowledge in your business.  Having your team members shadow each other can be vital to your success if a team member exits the business.  If you have a set of tasks that are extremely technical or specialized, then cross-training may not be worthwhile. In this case, outsourcing may be your best way to combat key person dependency, and ensure continuity if your key person decides to leave.

 

There is no quick fix to reduce key person dependency risk, and there’s no way to reduce it to zero.  But with these tips you can drastically reduce your risk and you can be confident in the continuity of your business.  

Contact us to find out how we can help strengthen your business!

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