Adaptability and Recordkeeping: Practicing Records Management in Different Industries

Moving Between Industries as a Records Management Expert

Though switching industries is relatively common, few transfer into financial services a decade into their career.

Chelsea Haynes is an exception. She’s been working in Records Management since 2009 spanning industries such as IT Services, real estate, energy, and now, financial services. The reasons for these moves? Manifold, ranging from wanting to get varied and competitive industries under her belt to simply wanting a new job.

It helps that Records and Information Management (RIM) principles remain the same across industries. Of course, there is always a learning curve when starting in a new industry. For example, records related to key business activities will vary depending on the business in question.

Challenges with the Learning Curve

“You don’t need to be an expert in the industry you’re in, you just need a solid foundation in RIM.”

When Chelsea moved to the energy sector, records pertaining to “Gas Operations” were unchartered territory. She didn’t imagine that someday she’d be in the financial industry, pondering the difference between bilateral and multilateral portfolio compression exercises.

Such obstacles are bound to arise every time Chelsea starts in a new sector. And while one doesn’t need to be an expert, it’s important to gain a high-level understanding of the business in order to ask stakeholders the right questions. (Beyond the obvious ones e.g., “Who owns the portfolio compression records?”) Above all, Chelsea needs to know how to ask smart questions. So how does she attain the right level of industry proficiency to do her job well?

“It’s not like I spent all weekend reading real estate textbooks,” she said when I asked how she got up to speed with real estate terms, for instance.

How Chelsea Tackles the Learning Curve

Instead, Chelsea is more likely to use the following strategy:

“I try to pick up knowledge wherever I can.”

This takes many forms. For one, the best way to help yourself is by looking things up on the Internet. For more granular questions, Chelsea identifies team members or other people at the organization to whom she feels comfortable asking questions. Being friendly and a team player always helps. Most people are more than willing to share their knowledge.

The Value of an Adaptable Records Management Professional

In the end, her foundation in Records Management goes a long way regardless of the industry. Writing destruction guidelines, policies, and procedures? No problem!

For the rest, it’s a matter of being a good listener and learning how to pull the right information from the experts.

People who can do both are rare. It can be a unique challenge in the financial services industry to find people with banking/finance backgrounds and Records Management expertise. Highly adaptable professionals like Chelsea are therefore a great choice.

Written by Olympe Scherer for Arrayo.