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AMA award-winner covers the basics

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

It was on her first and only day of training for her new job as IT coordinator at PPG Industries that Jerrilynne Jankowski noticed a long line forming outside her door: employees with questions and basic admin needs.

“I said, ‘Is it always like this?!’My trainer just said ‘Yeah,’” recalls Jankowski.

“They were coming to me for basic administrative needs, like to schedule catering needs or request a new ID,” Jankowski says. “All the things that keep our office going.”

Her solution: Tap the IT department’s expertise to post a self-service system on the company’s Intranet. A reference guide answered questions and explained basic procedures, while request forms let employees take care of cut-and-dried admin needs.

Here’s how Jankowski made the system work:

Beef up your reference guide to answer all administrative questions.

“Ours is made up of [questions] like ‘Whom do I go to for ...’ and it gives the contact info for that person,” she says. “It includes request forms for things like reserving a conference room.”

Once completed, request forms automatically go to the person who handles the request, whether it’s building maintenance or accounting.

Indoctrinate new employees with lunch ’n’ learns. Jankowski and several staffers hold them monthly for an average of three to five newbies. She gives each person a packet that contains the reference guide, the request forms, a list of helpful numbers and a floor chart.

Take a firm (but kind) stand. “If someone tries to bypass the system, I say: ‘I’d really like to help you, but if you don’t use my form, I’m not going to know if it works or not. So, would you do me a favor and try it out?’

“Since the form is online,” Jankowski says, “I can also send an e-mail with a hyperlink that shows them exactly where to go for their problem.”

The result: The line outside her door disappeared.

“Four years ago, I felt like I was a service person giving directions all day. Four years later, I only have a few interruptions a day, and I can truly partner with my boss. Now, I can make a difference in another way.”

To top it off, Jankowski’s hard work won her the American Management Association’s Innovation Award for 2006. Congratulations, Jerrilynne!

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