An effective records management program helps organizations get the most out of its records. Day to day operations of businesses depend upon instant decision making. Hence it is important to improve records management so that the workflows and productivity of businesses don’t get hampered. Records Management also helps limit costs and the risks involved with poorly managed records. Let’s understand 5 important steps to implement an effective records management program.
Step 1: Understand your Compliance & Inventory your Records
In a fast paced market environment, information is created fast and exchanged in a multitude of directions, through various channels and in a variety of content formats. It is not easy for any business to establish a one-size fits all approach when it comes to records storage and retention policy. This conventional approach may put them in a higher risk of not meeting records keeping compliance.
Consult a proven records management professional and implement a records retention schedule tailored to your industry and business nature. Understand timelines, policies and audit processes involved in meeting defined compliance from your industry regulatory bodies.
Accordingly inventory the records (both physical and electronic records) across the organization from past records, conducting interviews and registers. Educate the employees who formulate and overseer the records storage and retention schedule about the risks involved. This will allow them to own the records management process in a systematic manner.
Timely disposal of physical records is as important as storing and retaining them. Maintaining proofs such as “Certificate of Records Destruction” is important as a valid proof for records management audits.
Step 2: Establish Records Management Policies and Procedures
The entire success of your records management program lies on the governance policies and procedures you put forward. These policies ensure everyone in your business has the same understanding about records storage and records management. This avoids lot of confusions.
Such a records management policy will define and set common nomenclature for files, indexing, refiling and other processes across the whole value chain. The employees must clearly be communicated and educated with the records management policies and practices and often need to be trained for validating their understanding and practices. Once this is set, the system will take care of a streamlined operations in any event of contingency or eventuality.
Step 3: Standardize Accessibility, Indexing, and Storage
Once the policy for records management is established, the operational aspect of implementing a systematic records management depends on the way we index, store and retrieve records. As volume of records can pile up based on the amount of new records getting created, the accessibility, reliability and security of records will present a huge challenge. This will determine the pace at which information is made available for swift decision making.
The indexing of records is an art and science. Only experienced records management professionals can come up with scalable indexing methodology that are simple and yet effective for anytime retrieval. Considering the scale, geography, departments, type and format of records, the indexing nomenclature will vary drastically. By implementing barcoding and RFID Tags, the retrieval ability of records can be improved significantly.
Scientific indexing of records will help meeting compliance and information on the shredding timelines.
Step 4: Timely Audit to Ensure Compliance Checks
Beyond making up the records management policies and procedures the system will fail if the employees don’t follow. As part of the records management governance policy, timely auditing the procedures is very important. Formulate a team of in-house or external records management specialists who understand the process as a whole.
Make them audit internally with and without prior notice so that the readiness is ensured for anytime compliance. Ensure they audit the existing state of affairs with a checklist on Retention schedule, indexing accuracy, employees’ awareness, protection of records and timely destruction of obsolete records.
Step 5: Let go of Obsolete Records on Time, Every time
Finally, it is important to dispose of unneeded documents. Businesses often forget the retention schedules and timely dispose records in a secure manner. Holding on to older records might increase the risk of records integrity, penal actions and damages.
Let’s get started with your records management
Consult KAYMAN Records Management for a compliant-driven, systematic and secure records management. Mitigate compliance risks and purpose
Whether you have paper archives, electronic records, or a combination of both, our team of experts will guide you through a consistent implementation process of managing records to save money, automate workflow, and mitigate compliance risks.