Hire Irreplaceable Individuals–Then Make Them Replaceable.

How can you maximize a great hire? Employee turnover is inevitable. Owners can combat the negative effects of this by hiring people who are irreplaceable and make them replaceable.

Hire people who are irreplaceable

Hire people who have soft skills and hard skills. Hire people who are persuasive and eloquent. Hire people who love what they do. Most importantly, hire people you can’t imagine working without.

Of course, this is easier said than done. However, hiring for talent and fit is only part of the challenge. Once you’ve made great hires, how can you maximize their value for the business?

Make them replaceable.

Obviously, I’m not advocating letting employees’ skills and talents atrophy until they’re glassy-eyed, uninvested individuals who could be replaced with one interview and hire. Instead, help make each team member’s position into one whose everyday responsibilities and large-scale objectives are so clear that someone else could enter the role successfully with minimal chaos.

When institutional knowledge resides primarily in a single person, he or she becomes irreplaceable. Getting everyone onboard and making this knowledge available to everyone in the office (and making it understandable) is key. Implement and maintain systems.

Encourage employees to share their knowledge, from workaround to ways to broach difficult topics with clients to productivity boosters. Put this information in a Google Drive document. Send an email. Have a Google Hangout. Take notes. By spreading the knowledge out, your team is creating a viable organization that can sustain the loss of one person.

Between the knowledge they’ve added to your team and the clear role they play in the organization, your best employees should be able to leave a fully-functioning team behind. Whether they go on maternity leave, or head out to another firm, or retire, they should have added to the organization, not just to your clients.

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