No business owner likes being in a position where they feel that they can’t employ someone any more. What do you do when your technology makes your administration team redundant?
You might remember that in this article we talked about administration being the glue that holds things together. This is a blend of culture and ritual: It’s ‘the way we do things around here’. Technology can replace the way that you do things, but it’s your people that contain your culture.
People in your business add social capital
The ‘social capital’ we refer to here includes:
- relationships between team members
- the quality of coworking relationships
- the relationships you have with customers and suppliers.
In fact, letting them go can damage your business and how others feel about their work. For this reason it’s worthwhile considering what it might take to retrain them into other roles.
The knowledge that your administrators have about your business is priceless, and it’s cheaper to re-train than it is to re-hire. This kind of domain knowledge is an expertise that you won’t find in the marketplace.
As an employer or manager, if you can reorient your administrators so they apply their expertise to other tasks, it can significantly enrich your business. It’s likely that your admin team is involved in redesigning the workflow, which gives them an insight into why things are done - not just what has to happen.
Consider a re-training strategy, rather than a re-hiring strategy
When you consider the places in which your administrators can add additional value - as AllState Pest Control did - think about what it would take. To what extent would you need to re-train?
A great example is sales. Administrators already know the process; they just need the skills in practical application. It’s probably a much smaller amount of training than you expect.
Being able to consistently re-train not only allows you to retain you team member’s expert knowledge, but it won’t leave you looking for new hires. Technology adapts so rapidly that it’s better to consider ongoing cycles of training/re-training, than a strategy of dropping and re-hiring.
Perhaps more importantly, technology will continue to change your business. Being able to train and re-train allows you to keep your expertise in-house. In contrast, dropping and hiring means that you are not only training the new skills anyway, but are forever training out cultural and domain knowledge. New hires also don’t reach their full capacity for perhaps three months, and this drop in productivity can be a huge drain on your business.
Training is key to retention
Your best employees will not be happy in a static role, forever. If you don’t provide them with opportunities to add value in new ways, they will stagnate and eventually leave.
This is most noticeable among millenials, who are thirsty for knowledge. If their development is ignored, they will leave. This is particularly the case when it comes to leadership training.
Seventy-one percent of Millennials who are likely to leave an organization in two years are dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed. Sixty-nine percent of Millennials aspire to be leaders in the next five years and 60 percent of Millennials want training to develop their leadership skills.(Source)
Steps you can take today
There are some steps that you can take today that will help you move forwards in a positive way.
- Think about the types of roles in which your administrators could continue to add value
- Assess the level of re-training required
Once you know how much re-training is required, you’ll be in a better position to think clearly about whether your team members are actually redundant. For example, with the new data insights you’ll achieve with your workflow system, maybe you could reshape them as data analysts, which could potentially give you a huge leg up on your competition.
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