15 years ago, I had the unfortunate experience of being in an auto accident. The guy driving in front of me got in a fight with his wife over not stopping for gas so he threw his car in reverse and headed backwards toward the approaching cars. Luckily, I saw him coming and was able to stop before he hit me. The man driving behind me never saw us stopped and hit my car going 50 mph. I only missed one day of work from my injuries but our company’s senior management had come to a major realization on that day. What if I had been seriously injured or even worse? They had no idea of what all those blinking lights in the server room even meant. They didn’t have any idea of how to access them or what to do once they did.
Upon my return, they came into my office and made sure that I was alright. The next sentence out of their mouth was that they needed me to document everything that I did, how it was accomplished, and a step by step set of instructions on how to do it all, in case the next time, I was hit by a bus and was out for a longer period of time.
For any company that does not conform to ISO 9000 standards, the realization that they need to be prepared to cover for key staff members / job positions in the event that current staff members are not available to work, should be something that every company takes a serious look at. Whether by individual person or by job position, every company needs to follow these steps:
- Identify Key Staff Members / Job Positions
- Outline All Job Tasks
- Drill-Down and Identify All Processes They Handle
- Create a Step-by-Step Guide for All Processes
- Develop a “Bus Manual” for Each Employee / Job Position
- Assign “Backups” for Every Key Staff Member / Job Position
- Require the Backup Be Trained to Some Degree on All Job Tasks
- Provide the Backup with a Copy of the “Bus Manual” for the Position
Make sure that all vendor, supplier, and service provider information is available either in the manual on a list with contact information and description of services provided or in a CRM system with security access with login access credentials provided in the manual.Whether the circumstances arise that require you to cover for an employee for a short period of time or permanently, you need to be prepared. Creating a “Bus Manual” will help you cover those positions and tasks with a detailed, structured solution and give backups a great guide for covering things in the interim.