Three Ways Manufacturers Can Prepare for the “Two-Week Notice”

Employees are a critical asset for any manufacturer. However, as we face a tightening labor market, many manufacturers have struggled to find new hires. This problem is magnified when an employee decides to leave an organization. The typical two-week notice does not leave ample time to locate and train a replacement, leaving the business scrambling to cover the tasks of the departing employee. While these transitions are generally not easy, personnel changes are inevitable, and manufacturers should seek ways to prepare.

Consider three ways that manufacturers can plan for employee transitions:

  1. Document Critical Processes and Procedures

    Oftentimes, manufacturers struggle with the transition because the tasks that a departing employee has performed are not documented. When that employee exits, they take their knowledge with them, leaving the business to struggle.

    First, manufacturers should identify each critical process. Both office and manufacturing processes should be considered, from paying payroll to operating machines, or from using software to preparing goods for shipment. Next, write down each step of the process. This can be done with written instructions, visual flow charts, or in other ways that make the process or procedure easy to understand and follow. When outside vendors can provide support, include their contact information so anyone referencing the process or procedure knows how to find that help. Lastly, management should ensure that any written instructions are updated periodically or as tasks change.

  2. Cross-Train on Critical Functions

    Losing an employee can place a burden on co-workers, who may need to complete additional tasks while a replacement is found. While having the written process or procedure will be helpful, cross-training employees on critical functions can further ensure that tasks can be completed and can alleviate some of the uncertainty that occurs when completing a duty for the first time.

    Cross-training ensures that employees have received instruction on critical processes from those completing the tasks on a regular basis. Ideally, these employees would also complete the task periodically to ensure that they can do so completely and accurately. Cross-training has the added advantage of ensuring a backup in the case an employee has temporary time away from work, such as for a vacation or illness.

  3. Know Your Recruiting Options

    Advertising an open position, attending job fairs, working with employment agencies, or engaging recruiters are options to help manufacturers fill open positions. However, different positions may deserve different recruiting strategies.

    While management will not complete some tasks related to replacing the departing employee until their exit is known, knowing recruiting options in advance can help manufacturers work expediently to find the replacement. Consider developing relationships with recruiters and exploring available recruiting options before there is an open, immediate position to fill. This will allow management to make quick decisions when that need occurs. In any hiring situation, it is important to find the right person for the open position; making a poor hiring decision can create further burden and transition pains for other employees and the business. .

Are you undergoing transition or planning for an employee to depart? HBK Manufacturing Solutions can help you prepare for this change. Contact a team member at 330-758-8613 or

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About the Author(s)
Amy Reynallt is a Manager with the HBK Manufacturing Solutions Group in the Youngstown, Ohio office of HBK CPAs & Consultants. She is experienced in navigating the strategic and financial matters associated with manufacturing and works closely with manufacturers to help them plan, execute, and meet their short- and long-term financial goals. Amy can be reached at 330-758-8613 or by email at
Hill, Barth & King LLC has prepared this material for informational purposes only. Any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or under any state or local tax law or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the matter.