What Can this Upcoming Presidential
Transition Teach Us?

GUEST-BLOG-ICONToday’s blog post is written by Erin Madden Ramirez, Senior Data Specialist, Patron Technology.

Did you know this is an election year? Yeah. Kind of hard to miss. Let’s leave politics aside for a moment though, and think about what is guaranteed to happen. Between the November election through the inauguration in January and beyond, there’ll be a ton of staff turnover at all levels of the Federal Government. Staffing changes are inevitable. New folks are hired. People retire or leave for other jobs. It happens at every business, though usually not on such a massive scale as Washington D.C. faces every 4 (or  8) years.

Change can be frightening but, as this article from federalnewsradio.com points out, it’s also “an opportunity to strengthen the continuity of knowledge management.” You can ease future transition processes for your organization by making sure you have documentation and policies in place to retain as much institutional knowledge as possible going forward.

We’re not just talking about job descriptions and the employee handbook here. We’re talking about in-depth information. Every staff member, should take some time and map out their job responsibilities and timelines. Every department should prepare a document detailing their policies for various processes.

Take your box office, for example. Work in a box office is usually pretty cyclical. Single tickets go on sale X weeks before the season starts and subscription renewals start Y weeks before that. When your box office manager wins the lottery and retires to his own private island, won’t it be nice to have that timeline available for your new box office manager so no wheels need to be reinvented?

What about your financial department? Who is authorized to sign checks or approve purchase orders? Do checks over a certain dollar amount require two signatures? Who is responsible for taking cash deposits to the bank? Your CFO won’t need to stress while on maternity leave knowing there is documentation in place to keep things running smoothly so they don’t return and face a nightmare audit 3 months from now.

Any CRM system worth its salt will have tools to help with this process, especially connecting notes about donors and patrons to the actual patron records themselves. And the easy access to cloud-based storage, like Google Drive, Box.com, or Dropbox allow you to get notes out of various Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, off of sticky notes or scraps of paper scattered across multiple desks and, most importantly, out of people’s heads and into a place where the knowledge is accessible to everyone that may need it. The time spent preparing will be well worth it!

Do you have any horror stories about the loss of institutional knowledge when an employee left? How about any anecdotes where planning in advance for staff turnover really paid off? Share them in the comments so we can commiserate and/or share a virtual high-five!

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