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Filling in for those who have left the company

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When someone left the company, I used to think, "After all the efforts we have put into educating the person, it turned out to be a waste." But now I think differently.

There are basically two ways to fill that person's position. One is to hire another person who is suitable for the position; finding someone who has the same skill set and hiring and assigning them to the position. Sounds quite simple, doesn't it? The other is to have the remaining team members expanding their capacity to cover for the person who left. However, the team members are expected to take initiative to cover for the person's tasks, although it may make their job responsibilities seem quite vague.

I believe the latter is better. Here are the reasons why:

If we assume humans are stable beings, then the former might work better. However, humans are content when they recognize their own growth, so, the latter is more beneficial. We experience growth when we expand our capacity and challenge new things. Clearly defining job descriptions and limiting responsibilities takes away the potential satisfaction of growth.

In addition, an employee leaving the company is a good opportunity for the other team members to expand their capabilities and to gradually reassess their job descriptions. Thus, covering for the former employee enables the members to recognize the satisfaction of growth. It is also a very good chance to reconsider required and unrequired tasks. We tend to think that all of our work is important, but normally, some of the current tasks can be simplified or even disregarded; we can reengineer our work.

So, if we chose the latter, it can strengthen our organization as we go along. I also realized that these who leave us might be advocates of our company as they proceed with their careers; as long as the concepts we have educated them on were the right ones of course. Now I feel, it is just another event in our lives, just like joining the same school and graduating. Companies can also act as educational institutions; educating and simultaneously benefiting from workers improving their capacities, but when they decide to leave, it is mere graduation. No one knows how the future will unfold; former employees could end up playing a different role and start working with us again.

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