Redundancy is a word that sends a collective shiver down the spines of workforces across the UK. It’s not a nice word, and it comes with many negative connotations. Next time you hear the word “redundant” or “redundancy” being touted around the office; don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions. As a manager you need to make sure your customers needs continue to be met when you experience a failure in your workforce or your equipment. This additional resilience can be thought of as Business Continuity Planning (BCP) for your team.
Most people associate the word redundancy with job losses. Whilst this is one form of redundancy there are others too – you have to think about redundancy just in case your team doesn’t function quite like it should do. When we think about resilience, managers need to look for ”key person dependencies” in the tasks or functions that are performed and determine if they are acceptable or need to be mitigated. Let’s look at one example: If the internet goes down in your office and the IT guy is off sick or away on holiday, who’s going to solve the problem? The business can’t just close for the week until the IT guy gets back or recovers from sickness. Resiliency has to be built into the team that you manage so that if the worst does happen, the business can still operate.
Managers need to look into training staff in areas where they may not work every single day. Going back to the example of an IT expert in an office – the manager might train another employee so they know the troubleshooting process to go through in order to isolate and put right any faults that may occur. Having cover for every position within the business is extremely important – and that includes having cover for you, as the manager. You should look into training a staff member to hold the fort if you’re not around for a couple of days for whatever reason. This way, whilst you’re gone there is still accountability in the eyes of your customers and your team know who to approach for advice, or to whom issues should be reported.
It’s not just jobs that become redundant, equipment does too. In the world of technology redundancy is an on-going thing. Sometimes equipment becomes redundant because it has been superseded, in which case you can plan to phase it out – other times you need to create resilience so that “when” important equipment breaks it can be replaced extremely quickly or an alternate solution put in place.
What happens if the main till system in a restaurant breaks? There must be a back up in place – whether that’s a traditional cash register hidden away in the cupboard, or even just a good old calculator. What happens if the dishwasher stops working? There has to be a scouring pad and a bottle of detergent sitting around somewhere, just in case!
As a manager you need to be thinking about redundancy and resiliency on a daily basis. As well as ensuring that your workforce is providing value for money, you need to have backup systems and solutions in place just in case that important piece of equipment ceases to function, or a key member of your team calls in to say they’re sick and can’t come in. Redundancy comes in many different forms, and it doesn’t always lead to job losses. Next time you’re thinking about taking a holiday, wouldn’t it be great to know that you have the right structure in place so that you don’t have to be thinking about the office while you are relaxing with friends or family? If so, you definitely need to look into planning for redundancy and resiliency within your department.