In the Trenches: Turnover Hurts

BrettSnyder by Brett Snyder on February 24, 2011
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If I seem a little frazzled as I write this, it’s because it’s been a busy couple weeks. My number two guy has decided to leave, and that’s left me scrambling to fill the void.

It wasn’t really a surprise that he left. We had discussed his pet project many times, and I knew the day would come where he decided to devote himself full time to it. I just didn’t realize it would come when it did, and I failed to really prepare.

For a big business, when someone leaves, it can be easier to spread the work around because you have plenty of people available, even if they don’t have the exact knowledge necessary. For a small business, it’s not so easy.

Generally, small businesses have everyone working at their max output out of necessity. In my case, I’m the only full time person but I rely on independent contractors to handle some pieces of the work. With my longest tenured contractor leaving, the burden falls back on me.

While I was already working 12 hour days before, now I have more to worry about. He is staying around to finish working on the immediate stuff he has on his plate, but I still need to devote my time to handling new work that would have gone to him. More importantly, I have to recruit and train a replacement.

I did bring on a new contractor last week to help, but the training is just beginning. It’s going to take a while before he can take work off my plate.

So what’s the lesson here? It’s always good to have a backup plan in place in order to make the transition smooth. I’m working on creating more of a safety net going forward, so that it doesn’t all fall too hard on me anytime someone leaves.

And the other lesson? Learn to live without sleep. It frees up a lot of extra time.

BrettSnyder

Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.

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