By k | December 26, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I’ve talked about bridge positions
from a contractor’s point of view.
I thought I’d now talk about them
from a manager’s point of view.

There are two ways to handle
a vacant position.

The first is to hire a contractor
for the vacant position.
This contractor will learn the job,
document the duties,
and then train the new person.

The upside of this
is that no other positions are affected.
There is only one problem spot.
You’ll have a set of fresh eyes
evaluating the role
and suggesting changes.
Also, if the position is suddenly vacant,
an outside person may have the skills
to figure out what the hell
the original employee did.

The downside is
that, if there is some overlap,
the original employee is transferring her knowledge
to an outside person
(one solution to this
is to have another employee sit in
on the training).
The outside person (who may or may not care)
is given the responsibility to transfer
that knowledge to the new employee.

In a happy, happy world,
that transfer would be smooth
and the new employee would stay
for a long time.

The harsh reality is
that the contractor could be bitter
about being replaced
and/or the new employee doesn’t work out.
If the new employee leaves,
you’re left with no one knowing the position.

The second option
is to move another employee into the vacant role
temporarily (or full time)
and have the contractor fill that employee’s position.

The upside to this option
is that the knowledge stays within the group.
You can hire a lower level (i.e. less expensive) contractor.
You don’t have to oversee this contractor.
Your employee can do that
(given her some management experience).
You have expanded the skill base
of one of your employees.
This employee is more likely to have continued access
to the wisdom of the departing employee.

The downside is
you may not have an employee
with the necessary skills or desires
and you’re disrupting two positions.

I prefer, as both a manager and a contractor,
the second option.

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