Konstanty Sliwowski explains how identifying key team members is important. Below is a transcript of his video. 

Over the weekend I took on the project of cleaning up clearing out and rearranging the children’s bedroom. I found it strangely therapeutic as it allowed me to take things down that are no longer needed and build some new things, things that are very much future proof and will enable my kids to grow, enjoy more space and ultimately have a more fun environment to play and learn in.

This project has been brewing in my head for well a good few months now however the ultimate push for it’s execution came from the coronavirus lockdown. Now, mid-project it also got me thinking about something my business coach asked me a few weeks ago. "What is it that you have been putting off that you are now forced to do?" She also encouraged me to use this opportunity to execute on this in order to set the business up for the future.

This advice is very relevant to everyone really and especially business owners however what you need to remember especially as a leaner business is that with a lot of changes there is also certain things that you need to protect in the business. Among them is your key staff. You business critical staff members.

We all know that many sacrifices have had to be made. Kurzarbeit and layoffs of people you have worked hard to employ and keep are one of them. It can make you feel like throwing in the towel at times. Do not however forget that your duty is to protect and maintain business operations with the people you have. Among them, you have certain employees that are more critical to the business. Should they ever leave this would have serious consequences on project delivery, system maintenance, product development, or team stability. It would also incure a big recruitment cost both in terms of cash and time. Do you know who these people are? Have you measured the real impact it would have on the business if they were to leave? How about the effort of replacing them and the market for comparable candidates? Oddly, many business owners identify these people by "gut" and find it difficult to provide quantifiable data around this.

Usually, when we run such analysis for clients they are surprised to find how difficult it would be to find someone to replace a key employee. They are even more surprised to find out how often their key employees are actively pursued by other companies. For example, in 2019 the average engineer in Berlin was approached 16 times a month. You will say what about the coronavirus? Well, this may have dropped off during the pandemic but I can assure you that it is not as much as you think. We are monitoring this very actively and I can tell you, that there are companies who are very actively hiring. Just look at Amazon or Delivery Hero. Or if you want smaller players look at healthtech or the 70 companies in Europe who raised significant VC funding in the last week worth over 600 million Euro.

This brings me to my final question. What is it that you are currently doing to protect your business from the fallout of losing a key employee? How are you insuring yourself for this eventuality?

If you want to know more about how to improve retention and insure yourself against losing a key staff member I suggest we talk. We can of course run a full search project for you should a key employee leave but I can also help you protect your business from having to go down this bumpy road.