I recently checked in with Karen, the project coordinator for the Records and Information Governance Group at a large healthcare corporation in Missouri. Karen had recently transitioned from her role as an IT service desk assistant, and her newer, more demanding title required a lot of added responsibility and extensive research. But, as she discovered, this was nothing she couldn’t handle. . .especially when she had a little help from Iron Mountain.
Karen, how did you get yourself up to speed on the records management industry after taking on your new role as Records and Information Governance Group project coordinator?
I read everything I could get my hands on. My boss was really great about sharing things with me and giving me anything on the subject to read, including books and magazine articles. She gave me plenty of information to look through so I could get a grasp of what we were doing.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when you assumed your new role?
Trying to get comfortable and trying to understand all of the legal ramifications of this job and get a handle on them. Also trying to understand what I needed to do and how to do it correctly—and coming to terms with the policies and procedures that were written and in place. These included things like assigned retention periods. I likewise had to digest all of the legal research that goes into creating those types of procedural documents. I’m still trying to get comfortable with it all so that, if I do make a change, I can go in with an eye toward making it better, not just different.
Was there anybody in your company, other than your manager, who was particularly helpful?
Our company bought another company, and that company had an Iron Mountain employee working for them. He was the one that lent me a lot of his experience and provided me with information. He taught me how the acquired company managed their documents, best practices and processes.
What advice would you give to new records management coordinators?
First thing I would absolutely advise would be to find a mentor. Find somebody who knows what they’re doing so that they can share information with you, include you in development and help you grow. I’m very fortunate that my boss is also my mentor. She’s just a wonderful boss. The second thing I would advise would be to join ARMA and read anything you can get your hands on about it.
As a member of our online community, Iron Mountain Insiders, what brings you back to the portal each week?
What brings me back is that the portal is a great way to spend a few minutes clearing your mind when you’re stuck. You can go to the portal, complete a couple of challenges, make your brain rethink some things and then go back to what you were originally working on. You can actually learn something and get a new perspective; you can distract your brain and then go back to what you were working on before with new eyes. When you have an extra 15 minutes at the end of the day—where there’s time, but not enough time to start another project—the portal is a great way to use those minutes.
Any last bits of advice?
If you get an opportunity to go to Iron Mountain Underground, go. It’s really a fun thing to do. You’ll get to see some amazing artifacts, see the facility, meet the people that work underground and hear how passionate they are about their jobs. It really increases your confidence in Iron Mountain. These people are true professionals and are proud and enthusiastic about what they do.
Karen’s Suggested Reading List:
- Back and current issues of Information Management Magazine, ARMA International Publications.
- Implementing Electronic Document and Record Management Systems by Azad Adam, Auerbach Publications.