Have you ever worked in an environment where employees are promoted but get stuck in doing their old roles?
Yes, it happens and such employees, in most cases, fail to move on because their managers ignored or just failed to train potential replacements.
Therefore, as a manager, you should have a replacement plan because, according to Rogers Barigayomye, you should ensure that the company does not experience any form of a vacuum even when it means losing several employees at ago or in succession.
“There might be a short-term productivity lag but make sure that you train your team to have continuity as well as allowing normal workflow to continue even during crises,” he says.
This, he says, not only allows employees to grow into other roles but helps the company to explore talent that might not have been seen during recruitment.
Sylivia Nabirye was promoted into a new role but she was constantly on call to help out and fill the vacuum of an employee who had quit the company or was out of office on sick or annual leave.
She was overwhelmed and was fired not because she failed to manage her new job, but because she could not handle the various assignments that were always being passed to her.
“I was always filling in for people. But I was judged for failing to do my job well. I was always doing work outside my roles, so I paid the price,” she says.
Nabirye, according to Paul Wayero, a monitoring and evaluation officer at Finchurch, could have been drained because she was too timid to advise her manager to recruit someone.
“Perhaps she thought she could upset her managers,” he says.
“Filling-in must be for a short time but if it becomes a routine then the person will become drained and the end result will be poor deliveries and failing to hit key targets such as deadlines,” adds Wayero, highlighting that it is important for managers to quickly fill empty positions even if it requires that they go out in the market to recruit.
However, as an employee, he says, it doesn’t hurt for you to train someone with potential because it not only saves you the stress but enables the company mentor people to take over when there is a shortage.
“When you do not take off time to groom others, it is only natural that you will be sucked-in, especially if you are promoted and you are given people with no capacity as your juniors,” says Wayero.
Identifying potential replacements is critical in any company’s structural plan that is full filled by existing managers no matter the prevailing circumstances.
Take it as an obligation
As a manager who has a large stake in achieving the company targets and goals, you will always have challenges but how you manage these challenges separates you and gives you leverage over others.
Filling positions, especially for staff that have left the company is sometimes tricky but as a manager it is your obligation to find replacements that are either suitable for the job or even better than those that have left.
Make sure that filling the position does not drag because this will have negative impact on the overall outlook of the business.
Have someone at the ready
It does not mean that this person must necessarily be within. They might even be out of the company but must have required standards or experience. Besides having someone on call is also something you need to always consider as a manager.
Sometimes you will realise that someone has a certain talent even when you have already placed them in a particular job. As a manager it is your duty to track this person’s talent with a view of assisting such a person to grow into that talent even when they are doing a different job.
Have a plan. Because the company cannot be on a standstill, managers must always ensure that they have replacement plans for existing staff.