How Do I Manage Information Access for My Team?

Has this ever happened to you?

EMPLOYEE: We need a new hire for [sales, marketing, accounts, etc]!

YOU: What?! We don’t have the money for that because we JUST hired in a different role!

It begs the question–do your employees know what’s going on with your business? From hiring to projects to new initiatives, how are you managing information access?

Managing Information Access for Your Company

When you first start your company, information access is usually informal and unilateral. You only have a few people you’re working with, and everyone gets access to the same info.

But as your company grows, these conversations will start to take place in portals like Slack, Facebook groups, or your project management software. When someone goes on vacation, you still have access to all the information you need.

Once you get to a staff size of 5-15 people, this might stop working as well as it used to. The info is good and useful, but you have to train new employees. So you create a knowledge base in a Wiki or something similar to help you disseminate the information better. There’s a central place where people can catch up and get up to speed.

When you break 20 employees, information starts to get siloed. The leadership group is funneling the information down through meetings and memos. This might work for a little while if there’s only a few silos.

But as you get to 100+ employees, you need to start thinking of information as a heat map. Who needs to know what? What pockets of people need access to what kind of info?

You need to think about how information flows from you as the leader to the people doing the work, whether they’re employees, freelancers, or clients.

The Sales/Marketing Feedback Loop

When it comes to information access, the biggest thing to pay attention to is the feedback loop between sales and marketing. When communication and information flows freely between these two departments, it will make things more efficient and help your business development efforts. Sales can let marketing know about pain points or feedback from prospects, and your marketers can adjust in real time.

But here’s the thing–you don’t have to wait to get bigger to tighten up that loop. 

It doesn’t matter how big or small your organization is. 

If you have a gap between sales and marketing, as you scale that gap is going to scale along with you. The earlier you can close it, the better.

The Benefits of Improving Your Information Access Process

Listen, I know you’re busy. Figuring out your information access might seem like a low-priority task. But I promise that once you streamline this process, you’re going to see major benefits. Here are just a few:

Make Your Customers Happier

When your employees are empowered with information, they can actually make your customers happier! The faster you can answer a customer or client’s question or concern, the better. 

If you have informed, engaged employees with immediate access to the answers they need, you can help customers resolve their issues—fast.

Make Your Employees Happier

When you keep your employees in the loop, their energy and commitment to your company goes up. You’re going to see this reflected in the way they turn from employees to brand ambassadors. 

When your employees become privy to important information—whether it’s your company’s mission or a client folder—they feel like part of the team. They go from employees to partners.

Increase Profits!

Here’s an easy equation for you:

Informed employees = better service = happy customers = more profits

If you give your team access to important information in a central spot, customers with a problem won’t have to be passed around like a hot potato until they can find someone in your organization to solve their problem. When everyone is in the loop, you don’t waste time on filling team members in when there’s a service issue.  

And because you’re not wasting time trying to find the right person to solve the problem in the first place, your employees can be more productive.

Happy customers and efficient team members can be the key to higher profits!

Empower Your Leaders

You’re not the only leader on your team. 

You need your other leaders to have easy access to important data about your business so they can do what they do best. 

Whether it’s research and development, marketing strategy, or sales bottlenecks, giving them key info can mean the difference between a well-oiled, innovative company and a disorganized company where processes are too overwhelming to allow for innovation. 

Tell Me!

How do you organize your information access? Is it working for your team? 

If not, no worries. I can help. Let’s chat about it.

How to deal with my team’s systems resistance

You saw the light!  

Whether you are tired of repeating the same tasks over and over again and want to automate the process or you just got tired of asking where your team was on their projects – you decided to get yourself a systems tool. You did the research, you weighed the pros and cons, you implemented it, you deployed it to the team, you are so excited about all the headache this is going to save you and now…

THE UGLY RESISTANCE.

Juliana “I have a new systems tool, but my team doesn’t want to use it? Now what?!?!”

I get this question from business owners and their team leads all the time.

Team members ranging from your freelancers to your businesses’ #2 create resistance and it typically looks like one form or another of …

Well, I don’t want to (the bratty resistance)

Why do I have to (the rebellious resistance)

Not part of my job (the diva resistance)

It’s boring/meh (the ennui resistance)

I didn’t have to do this before (the status quo resistance)

I didn’t do this in other places (the comparison resistance – mostly contractor’s response)

The resistance is a lot of white noise that usually stems from  2 factors:

  1. Robots are going to take over the world … (not really – kinda) but they see this “ systems tool” as a threat to their job. This tool creates efficiency and transparency that will in effect make them much easily replaceable. The dirty truth is that it does – it makes a lot of the mindless repetitive work that your staff is doing faster so they need to step up their game and can’t hide behind you not seeing the inefficiencies running the clock and costing you money.
  2. They see this as more unnecessary work you just piled on top of them. Let’s face it, they don’t need to see the big picture so there is absolutely no incentive to track or measure the work they are already doing when their priority is just getting that work done.

How do we address the issue?

  • Make it a part of their job – whether you are on boarding a new person or retraining an old person this is the new norm. You set the expectation that this is now a job requirement – not a suggestion.
  • Everything is awesome! You paint the picture that this tool is going to save them time and allow them to work on the higher level tasks that they actually enjoy and will reduce a lot of the grunt work of the job that they don’t. Every single time a client’s A-player has had huge resistance to adopting a system and they finally do the response “epiphany” that they share with my clients’ is “why didn’t we do this earlier”.  

Every. Single. Time.  

Poor performing players, on the other hand, well, you just got visibility into who is performing and not. [link to hiring] This is a good time to update those job descriptions.

Sidebar – if it’s a CRM tool that you are deploying you can state that CRMs make increase sales by 29% more when you use a CRM – hence cha ching! more mula for everyone!

Help them help you. Using a new tool is a habit. Set up daily or weekly automated reminders so you can prompt people to input, check off, or move things around in your shiny new systems tool. Let them know they are going to have to invest some time upfront to get the results. Those first two weeks of working out are brutal, but after you develop the routine and start to see results, the thought of not working out is not even a question.

Show them how to use the systems tool how you want it used. Everyone adopts tools with their own process – create a simple screencast showing them how to go about using the tool and reduce hand holding and answering the same questions. For more elaborate tools, I’ll talk about rollouts.

Stress review time and completion. When do projects, deals, milestones need you or a manager for review and when can they actually be marked as complete. Set this up ahead of time to avoid bottlenecking or an inaccurate sense of reality.

Bonus Level – measure – keep a scorecard to track performance.

Pitfalls:

So let’s say they are now (happily or not) onboard with using this new tool. Cool, right? Well, let’s still look out for some systems mayhem.

You can get the eager – beaver – systems – achiever ????  who uses the systems at nausea and you are pinged a 100x a day with every tiny detail of work being produced.

The fix – Help them prioritize and make sure you set up times with them to check in. For example – you can let them know you are reviewing work at 6am or 4:30pm so they know that you are not going to take a look at every ping throughout the day and when to get all of their questions or work product in by for your review.

Cloak and dagger – things are being moved along but there is almost no communication and you are left with an icky feeling of not sure what is getting done when.

The fix –  Help them prioritize and have them send you an end of day/ week summary of what is getting created and complete. Check your system for activity reporting.

If you are running into any other pitfalls I would love to know – share them with me.

Implement for Results

  • Establish the new norm and stress the importance of this system as part of their job
  • Let them know this is going to help them make their jobs and lives easier
  • Automate reminders to help them build habits
  • Show them how to use it
  • Set up criteria for review times and completion of work
  • Measure
  • Manage pitfalls by helping team prioritize and communicate effectively