When you first get thrown into the job of Mailroom Manager, it’s very likely that no one handed you a rule book or How To Guide. Suddenly, you’re the person in charge of the mailroom of a growing company, and you find yourself trying to do almost everything. Training other people seems to take too much time, so you reason that you might as well do it all yourself. It is understandable that you may be feeling so overwhelmed. Soon, tasks start falling through the cracks, the quality of the work suffers, packages get lost in the shuffle, management has noticed, and your job is on the line.
This is a story we hear far too often. The fact is, there isn’t a lot of support out there for the hidden heroes we call mailroom managers. Often, you’re the person with the most experience on site and the best people skills. That is a great place to start – you have experience! But to become truly indispensable in your position, you need to learn two skills:
Organization and Delegation
When you’re starting from scratch – or have to greatly revise your package management system – one thing we’ve found very helpful is to “systemize.” This doesn’t mean buying software (even our software). It means having a written rule for when something happens.
Try this for one week:
Every time one of your employees asks you a question about operations, or you have to show someone how to do something, write down what they asked. Soon you’ll see a pattern of what your employees ask most often, which will allow you to make a list of these FAQs and everyday tasks. This will become your office protocol sheet, which will help you to efficiently train new employees.
4 Steps to Mailroom Mastery
Here is what I have always used when training, even if I have to force myself to use it from time to time. It is very important to do ALL FOUR steps. Just 1 or 2 will not work.
- Show them how (they watch you)
- Guide them how (you do it together)
- You watch them (Hands off! They show you and you only help if they are stuck)
- They show you (You say nothing until the end. After you can give suggestions. If needed, go back to step 2)
Once you’ve run all of your mailroom employees through the protocol sheet a few times, they should know enough of the basics to stop asking you about basic operational issues. Then comes the hard part: Delegate and step back. Let them handle it, and schedule a weekly meeting to address ideas, concerns, and issues that came up during the previous week.
Grow with Goals
Then, introduce goals for the new week. Make them measurable, sit down with your team to outline them, and if accomplished – celebrate! If not accomplished, then use the next meeting to break down what went wrong, learn from it, and resolve the issue. Goals might be to cut down time from first delivery to final recipient, to clean out unclaimed packages, or to cut down on the time people wait for their packages in the pickup line at the front desk.
Tackle one thing at a time until your mailroom runs so smoothly that your company couldn’t operate without you.
EZTrackIt package management software can help you reach your goals for a more efficient mailroom. See our How it Works page for more details. Or…
For more great tips, check out How to Reduce Liability in the Mailroom, and 10 Quick Tips on How to Organize Your Corporate Package Tracking System.