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How to solve a key employee's absence problem.

Every dealership has a key employee whom it depends upon for important tasks – someone the organization relies on, and is handicapped when he or she is not on the job. So, what happens when a key employee isn’t around?

“Only my GSM deals with our Direct Marketing.”

“Steve, our Internet Manager, set up our digital marketing programs…he quit yesterday and we are trying to figure out what campaigns are running and where the lead forms are connected.”

“Sally, our IT director is the only person who knows how to access our DMS and pull those reports.”

Dealers, managers and support personnel alike struggle when key employees are out sick or on vacation. So how can your organization prepare for an absence?  

One simple solution is to document what your key people know and what they do so other team members can pick up the slack. A great way to do this is to use visual Mind Maps which are easy to create and easy to understand.

In a few steps you can set up a Mind Map that will save you a lot of headaches in the absence of a key employee. Prepare for the unexpected, so the next time a key employee is out sick, on vacation or just up and quits, you are not left scrambling to pick up the pieces.

1. Why Mind Maps?

A Mind Map is a diagram that organizes information hierarchically to show relationships among the pieces. They have been used for centuries in learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists, and others. Mind Maps make a great visualization tool because they force the reader to scan the entire map in a non-linear fashion - like your day-to-day operations. 

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2. Mind Mapping Tools

Basically, a mind map can be drawn by hand on a napkin. Many organizations do this type of documentation on spreadsheets or word documents. However, it’s far easier to use a Mind Map tool that is already designed to help outline information in this format.

The great thing about today’s Mind Map technology is that diagrams can be linked to URL’s, PDF’s, task lists, contact lists, calendars, etc. so you always have a quick way to view the information and follow each step like a recipe. Some mapping software programs you might want to review are: Visio, SmartDraw, MindMeister, MindJet, and Lucidchart to name a few of the many applications available.

3. Map Out Your Business Processes

Start by listing out all the regular tasks that each employee does. 

regular employee tasks.jpg

Next, document each step that must be performed to complete the specific task. Flowchart diagrams easily show the different steps that occur as the result of a decision.

 

documented steps.jpg

Then, upload your maps to your server where they are easily accessible, and cross-train other employees as a backup.

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Mind Maps also allow easy collaboration between team members. Documenting your process visually also helps you identify areas where improvements can be made. Once you have members of your team cross trained, you won’t have to worry if someone is out sick, or quits on short notice, because you will have all the information you need with another employee cross-trained to take over immediately.

And one last thing.... Don’t forget about the passwords! Save that critical information for every website, application, email, and anything else that needs a log-in. Save it in a notebook you lock in your safe, or in a very secure password keeper, or in your sock drawer, but save it. And make sure to update it regularly. Many websites insist on password updates every 90 days, so stay on top of it. Set reminders in your calendar if that’s the best way for you. Nothing is as sad as losing an employee and all the access you entrusted to him. So, keep that control in hand. You’ll be glad you did. 

Eric Gerard
Eric Gerard
Eric has created and managed automotive marketing campaigns for over three decades. A writer at heart, he still approaches his work with the same love and passion as 30 years ago. As the VP of Operations at ePush!, Gerard has been instrumental in the development of new products and processes that help the company deliver top-tier service and results for its clients. When he is not on the phone or in a meeting, you can find Gerard working in his office while Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam or the Killers are rocking in the background.

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