A local charity under goes change
A local charity was undergoing a period of structural and organisational change with a view to streamlining the business and its procedures. I was engaged to provide my business support services to assist the Executive Director of the charity. She wanted to streamline and update the charity filing systems. This would enable her to be more organised and efficient with regards to her admin duties. This included a process for maintaining staff and other company files. Also she wanted an improved procedure for monitoring staff absence and email management system.
As a small charity, the Executive Director has little assistance when it comes to admin and she is personally responsible for maintaining the integrity and completeness of personnel files for each employee. These include documentation relating to employment history, records of contribution and achievement, disciplinary notices, promotions, performance development plans, and much more. She needed a system for managing all company files from a central location and that could also be accessed remotely.
The existing staff files were physical in a filing cabinet. Some documents from the staff files were digital in an attempt to move to a digital filing system on the main computer driver. Individual records and procedure documents were disorganised and in disarray. There were missing documents and information was out of date.
The ED was lacking a structured method for keeping staff information up to date. She also needed a system for keeping business files in a managed order. There was no organisation process for handling incoming emails at all. She had an inbox of over 5,000 emails with a non existent filing structure. In addition she was struggling with a time consuming staff absence process which involved scrolling through lines of a spreadsheet and manually updating and calculating holidays.
Establishing slicker processes
As part of my business support services I like to understand exactly what my client’s business is all about. I like to know what their objectives are before I get to work. Initially, I spent quite some time in the actual Charity’s office, (normally I work virtually from home) understanding the ED’s requirements and what the existing system set up looked like.
Before I could establish a management process for the ED’s email box I first had to sift out the junk. I then set to building an easy to use filing system. This resulted in an inbox with zero emails and a process for her to manage incoming emails on a daily basis.
The charity, having a financial conscience, didn’t want to spend money on purchasing a specific app for managing staff absence. I therefore reviewed the existing method and implemented a much more effective calendar. Although still using Excel the spreadsheet is now automated and is easy to understand, and much less time consuming to use.
Next, I moved on to the staff files. I checked each individual physical file for missing information and cross referenced them with the new digital file where applicable. I then amended all the files filling in the missing information as well as making sure everything else was up to date so the records are accurate. To assist with regularly used documents, I set up individual templates. The templates now replace the old habit of over typing of information on existing forms.
Business support services provides an accessible digital filing system that works
To summarise, I successfully put in place a digital filing system that enabled the team to reduce a large number of physical files. This enables them to easily search and access relevant documents and files. A new document versioning system is now in place and a document archive implemented. The ED’s email box is now tidy with a proper filing system in place. Having done some training with her she can now easily prioritise and deal with incoming emails on a daily basis.
Having new admin procedures in place has led to a slicker process for managing day to day admin tasks. The organised information makes it much easier for all employees to access relevant information. Information can be accessed from the office or remotely, making for a more efficient and effective communication strategy. The ED did comment on how much easier her life has become. “It is less stressful and makes for a more relaxed environment to work”.
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