That is awful! Yes, that would be truly tragic, but the intent behind this statement is that you never know when someone may not be able to work, whether it is from illness, abruptly quitting or even death.
I have worked for and with many companies that rely on someone being trained by someone else, who knows the job duties, or even a manager or owner. This is very inefficient and also leads to a steep learning curve and loss of time/money.
Businesses need to have training and reference material that allows someone to come in and learn/fulfill a job duty right away.
In fact, we recommend having training material creation, job documentation as part of every job duty.
Create Training Material
People on average retain 15% of new information, but companies are not built to have employees only able to do 15% of their job well. People learn best when having multiple ways to absorb information, while this is not always practical, we recommend more than just an employee handbook.
Video is the preferred method since you can have visual and voice audio to show someone a task and verbally talk them through it. These videos can also serve as reference they can look back on when needed. As we all know, not all job duties are done regularly and trying to remember or figure out something quarterly, annually or just whenever needed is frustrating.
If the task is computer based, there we have found Camtasia to be a great option for tutorial software. It is easy to use and is affordable, while also rendering the final video without jump or audio issues.
For live or field video, a standard HD camcorder or GoPro will usually suffice. A GoPro is easier for one man jobs, as you don’t need someone to hold the recording device, but sometimes a tripod and a camcorder will give a better overall video, with the ability to zoom in and audio quality.
While many companies do not use a real intranet, you can use the cloud with services like Google Drive, Microsoft One-Drive or Dropbox. These are great for file storage, but make sure to have a folder structure and a document with instructions for people to know where to navigate.
Microsoft One-Note is a really good structured note/documentation option. At this time, there are free options of One-Note. To utilize the true functionality, there is a small learning curve, but it is still fairly simple to use and you can even build internal links to sections and have it available online. Some companies use SharePoint, although I am not the biggest fan of this for smaller companies.
Have a Plan
Regardless of which methods you choose, make sure you have a plan. Training and reference material is great, but not if you have hundreds of documents that are poorly named or have no structure to them. Believe me, I have made this mistake and cleaning it up ends up a nightmare that could have been avoided by spending some time planning.
Bonus: If you are a someone that ends up doing a lot of the training, you will get to spend more time on your job duties and not stopping to answer every question.