August 13th, 2022

Finding yourself short staffed right now? You’re not alone. Millions of business owners across the country are struggling to keep their businesses running while dealing with a large number of call outs from their staff. While this certainly makes business more difficult, there is something that you can start doing right now that will ease the burden on your team over the next few months and make it much easier to handle staff call outs in the future.

Unlocking Staff Knowledge

Traditional teams work by having each staff member own particular tasks or knowledge centers. Your bookkeeper, for example, may handle your accounts payable and receivable, and issue the payroll checks. And while normally this model works just fine, it can become a bit of a hurdle should your bookkeeper call out sick the day payroll is due. You are then left scrambling to either figure out the task yourself or try to get a hold of the sick team member to find out the needed information.

But there is a better way. What if you had a folder on a shared drive that contained every single task that your bookkeeper does over the course of a month, along with written documentation and videos outlining the steps necessary to do each task. Imagine being able to then hand those documents over to another team member knowing that they had everything they needed to complete payroll in time. Now imagine that you could do this for every single position within the company, including yours. Suddenly someone calling out sick isn’t such a stressful situation.

Getting Started

I call this collection of tasks and documentation a UBS, or ultimate business system. Your UBS is a living, breathing collection of best practices, contained in a user-friendly, searchable structure that your team can easily access, update, refine, and add to as they perform their job functions. We typically keep ours in a shared filing system like Dropbox or Sharepoint.

Getting a system up and running isn’t going to happen overnight, but it will happen over time. Begin by explaining the process to your team and ask them to start UBS’ing things as they do them over the course of the next few months. When a new task or process pops up, it should become a standard practice to UBS it as the process is created.

Some examples of areas you would want to create UBS’s would include:

  • Sales/lead conversion/strategy
  • Marketing/lead generation/strategy
  • Operations/production/fulfillment/purchasing
  • Finance/reporting/collections/accounts payable
  • HR/hiring/onboarding/benefits/compliance/exit processes

Your UBS should grow with your business. As you hire new team members, have them create documentation for tasks and processes that may have been overlooked the first few passes. As they are undergoing training, try recording the training sessions and keeping them on file to be used for future onboarding sessions. This will not only help you create a consistent onboarding process for everyone, but will also help you remember items that might be overlooked two or three hires down the road.