Originally published May 2012
Many small businesses today have disaster recovery plans – a contingency if their server went down or their business premises were flooded. But one area that they rarely plan for is how they would deal with the loss of a key employee.
Consider these examples.
You’re running a regulated business which requires a nominated individual with particular qualifications to hold the licence to operate (there are many small businesses that this applies to – transport, childcare, waste management etc). That individual – who will usually be a senior person in your organisation – has a heart attack and is off for several months. Your entire business is threatened because your key member of staff is unavailable. What do you do?
Even if your business isn’t regulated, losing a key person can be disastrous. If you employ someone with specialist skills and knowledge and they resign at short notice – worse if they go to work for a competitor – then it could well be goodbye to that major contract.
And even the loss of an administrator could cause significant problems if your business relies on their knowledge of your systems and procedures. The fact that they know a call from Ms X is important and Mr Y is less so, or that it is essential to be at a particular trade conference, would be lost if they suddenly went out of the picture.
So next time you’re analysing what you would do if your buildings were burnt down, identify as well who your “firewall employees” are and consider how you would manage if they disappeared.