Tips for Filling Behind

A vacancy created while a staff person is participating in the program can be an opportunity for an agency to:

  • Receive an exchange participant for that position or for another vacancy in the organization
  • Provide a challenging opportunity for another staff person to step up
  • Provide cross-training for a number of staff within the organization
  • Think through and test a succession plan

“MTEP has provided not only a great training opportunity for the aspiring manager who goes to another agency but also for those employees in our organization who fill in behind the MTEP participant. Learning opportunities are thus provided for up to three or four people to get new experiences.”

If your agency requests it, we can try to find a one-to-one match for the position. For example, a Management Analyst in the City Manager’s Office goes to another jurisdiction for three months and the agency gets a Management Analyst form another agency to replace that employee.

This is not always possible, however, due to the variety of skills and experience levels of those in the candidate pool. Keep in mind that the program is time-limited.

Past participating agencies have filled the 3-month vacancy created by their program participant by:

  • Reassigning the person’s duties to several employees so that the work is covered and other employees have growth opportunities without one person being overburdened.
  • Temporarily promoting a staff person who is capable and interested in someday moving into the job.
  • Obtaining a qualified intern from another department or from a nearby university.
  • Doing a rigorous assessment of the position’s duties and covering only the highest-priority tasks, as you would do if the employee took an unexpected leave of absence.

In the end, your MTEP participant will come back with new ideas, new enthusiasm, and new competencies that will serve your agency well. If you are creative, they can use this opening to provide internal staff the same opportunity, increasing employees’ knowledge and giving them a chance to shine. You might even uncover hidden talents among your staff.