Would you panic if a key employee left your school or district?

That should never happen from a business situation, as shortsightedness can cause massive problems for an organization.

One of the most inefficient ways to save money in the short term is to not replace employees in mission-critical functions throughout the school or district. Mission-critical tasks are exactly that. Too often, complacency can turn tragic.

There are many cases where the district relies on a single long-term employee to perform a critical task, whether it be web maintenance, network management, or payroll. Often, that employee has seen their backup person retire or leave and a new backup was never appointed. Maybe providing the training wasn’t a priority—that is, until the employee leaves or retires. Sometimes an employee, sensing the dire situation his or her exist would create, asks for more money.

A two-step process can boost your district's productivity

I have seen several situations over the years where the single remaining programmer or system administrator has gotten ready to leave and the administrative team has scrambled to come up with additional compensation to keep the person in place. Sometimes that works, but not always.

In other cases, a serious injury or the exit of a difficult employee takes all of the district’s system passwords away. I know one case where it took the district more than a year to fully recover all of its systems.

Luckily, there’s a way to eliminate these potential crises: cross training among employees. Here’s how.

About the Author:

Steve Baule, a former Midwestern school administrator, is an assistant professor of educational leadership at UW-Superior.


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