How to train your replacement (even if you’re not leaving)
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
In a previous article, I mentioned three reasons why you should train your replacement even if you have no plans of leaving your job anytime soon. The next logical step is to offer tips on how to make that happen.
Whether you're a department of one or simply don't have lots of spare time to document how to perform various tasks, these tips will help you get started.
Tip 1: Define the scope
Write down all the tasks you currently perform. This may include reconciling the church bank accounts, paying invoices, processing benevolence requests or other tasks.
Creating a full list of what you do is the first step to developing documentation for each task.
Tip 2: Prioritize the list
You probably don't have time to document all of these tasks this month. Therefore, it makes sense to decide which tasks are the most vital to the church and work on those first.
Prioritize the list based on importance (the electric company will shut off our church's electricity if we don't pay the bill on time) and frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually).
Tip 3: Document each task
This is the most time-consuming part of the process. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to document your tasks is to ask a volunteer to shadow you as you perform the task.
Find someone who is detail-oriented and administratively gifted. As you enter invoices, have this volunteer note each step along the way. Review the documentation and adjust as needed.
Another option is to document the task as you perform it next time. This will take more of your time, but it's an effective approach.
Tip 4: Have someone use the documentation
Since each task is second nature to you, you'll need someone unfamiliar with the process to test the documentation. Find a volunteer or another staff member who has never performed that task and ask him/her to use the documentation to complete the task.
Watch this process, and note where this individual gets stuck or has questions about what to do next. That information will help you decide what you need to add or change in that documentation.
Documenting your process for each task is a time-consuming effort. However, it's important for your church and for you to have this information available. By carving out small increments of time and finding a few volunteers, you should be able to complete this project within a few months.
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