When you are a small company news like a new baby is always so exciting, but can be quickly followed up by the thought, how are we going to make this work?! At least this is the thought that ran through my head when we heard the news. Luckily we had of time plenty of time to prepare our processes, our team and our clients. For our team this meant a few larger changes, heres what we did to prepare.
While we were nervous about how we would manage without a critical team member while Haley was out on maternity leave, we knew it was something our team could handle. With all the upcoming uncertainly we knew we needed to create a plan for how we were going to make it happen. This meant lots of management discussions about logistics and plans for changes in the coming months. As a small team, losing one persons efforts makes a big difference. These meetings helped us to lay down the action items for how we would start shifting responsibilities.
Since one team member would be out for months at time, we needed to redistribute her responsibilities to other team member, shifting almost everyone’s role. Like many small business owners Haley originally held a-lot of the responsibility with client communication and management, along with business logistics. These things became activities we needed other team members to take on. We shifted more team members to project mangers and introduced them to clients as they would take over Haleys roles, shifting her work among everyone and evening out the working load. This however if better for the business in the long run as we no longer need to rely so heavily on one person. We started pivoting several months before Haley’s due date, allowing everyone time to get comfortable in their new roles while she was still available.
With everyone taking on more work, they had less time do handle their typical workload. This left us with projects that we just didn’t have the time to complete. Adding another team member helped us to combat that by taking some of the pressure off everyone and shifting tasks to someone new. Because of the time needed for knowledge transfer, we knew we had to bring someone on sooner rather than later. Bringing on a new team member months before we had to make the switch helped us all by giving us enough time to bring her up to speed and get her accustomed to our team and clients.
Introducing team members to clients was the last step in our prep. For some clients this was tough because Haley had been their trusted contact for so long. As our team members took on more client communications, everyone began get more comfortable and fund trust in their new connections.
With the prep work out of the way, all we had to do was wait for the big day. There were a few bumps in the road, as to be expected, but it all worked out in the end. Because of this transition our team is stronger than ever, and we couldn’t do it without everyone's hard work and dedication. We really owe it all to our amazing team at Iris Design Collaborative.
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