What is caretaker management?
Caretaker management is simply when a business owner or employee in a key position is away from that position for an extended or unknown period of time and a contracted person is bought in to facilitate the management of the position.
The scope of the contracted person is defined by the word ‘Caretaker’ suggesting that the expectation of the caretaker manager is simply to maintain the existing requirements of the position, and ensure the normality of the position.
Why would caretaker management be useful?
There are various needs for owners / managers to be absent from their work environment such as a long needed break, business trips away, planned health remedial support, support for family members, and in some cases for an unknown period of time for accidents and other health reasons, supporting the family, pregnancies, jury duty, temporary transfers and other needs.
When these disruptions occur, it’s often the case that the environment they manage begins to function adversely, targets are missed and inefficiencies slip in, as It’s commonly accepted that ‘when the manager’s away, the employees will play up’ and profitability will be affected.
A caretaker manager will ensure stability of the operational environment throughout the absence of the owner / manager, maintaining some operating normality, taking the stress and worry off the absent person and allowing them to focus on the reasons for their absence. There is nothing worse than being away from work, trying to do or things or simply relax, whilst spending every minute wondering if the company is functioning ok.
Is caretaker management feasible?
Most companies of a size that requires a manager or operational owner will have staff with good process knowledge, an accepted operating system, a functioning operation and a customer base with a product or service demand. With this understanding, it would be fair to assume that if the owner/manager was not available for a day, the company would continue to function at its normal capacity, or close to it.
In building on that expectation, if the operation could function for one day without the owner/manager, a caretaker manager would be able to maintain the operations of the company for an extended period of time without making change to the operational functions, even with minimal prior knowledge of the operation’s process.
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Noel Rodgers MBA – CMC
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