Government employee turnover is always highest around new administrations coming into power, and this year shows no sign of being any different.  If you haven’t yet faced an exodus, what can you do to prepare yourself for coming retirements?   Here are a few tips to ensure that your team continues to function well through departures, gaps in coverage and the integration of new team members.

Design and Document Standard Operating Procedures:  The worst time to discover that there’s no description of a critical employee’s job is after they’ve already left.  When this happens, your entire team can lag expectations for months while information is located and processes are rebuilt.

To ensure this doesn’t happen to your team, make sure all processes are documented, and that all data required to ensure continuity is located where it can be easily found and managed.  Taking the time to build these processes and documentation has another benefit – it ensures that everyone on your team is following rational, efficient processes and that all of your data is safeguarded in a secure location.

Cross Train Employees:  If only one person in your office knows how to perform a critical task, you’re exposed to major risk.  Life is unpredictable, and there’s no guarantee that this employee will be able to provide enough notice to train their replacement, or even to train a co-worker.  Always make sure that at least two team members can complete any required tasks at a level where your team can remain successful.  If your team doesn’t have a list of which tasks are essential, that’s a great place to start before building a cross-training schedule.

Talk to Your Team Members about Their Plans: According to the AGA 2016 IG Survey, 26% of staff at IG offices will be eligible to retire within three years.  If you’ve got somebody on your team that fits in that category, talk to them about their plans.  Find out if they’ve got a hard or soft retirement date in their mind.  Keep it as an open discussion.  The sooner you know where they stand the sooner you can develop a firm succession plan and start implementing it.  Even if you don’t have firm dates, you should be thinking about a plan for how you would replace your team members, especially those who will be most likely to leave due to retirement or new opportunities.  Which leads right into…

Have a Recruiting Strategy Ready to Go: Even if you are prepared to fill the gaps while a new team member is recruited, this can take months, especially for government roles that require clearance.  Although you can’t make this waiting period go away, you can reduce it if you’re ready to recruit at a minute’s notice.

Make sure that you have an up-to-date job description for each member of your team, along with an informed assessment of what types of education and experience will be required to perform the job.  If possible, also gain an understanding of what will be required by your HR department before the job can be posted and while it is active, so you aren’t causing any delay on your end.  The days or weeks saved by this preparation may be the difference between team success and missed goals in the next report to your oversight body.

Your case management system should help to ease workforce transitions, not be an obstacle.  If your current system is an impediment, call us at 919.600.5102 or contact us online.