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Any organization that fails to properly manage corporate records—from expense reports to customer invoices to employee e-mails—runs the risk of having those assets compromised. That can mean expensive litigation and potential damage to its reputation. Following responsible records management processes can mean the difference between complying with regulations and potentially going out of business.
To be effective, however, a records management program requires rigorous, ongoing education to make sure the organization adheres to the policies and understands their effects. Yet such employee training is often overlooked or inadequate. If these policies are not regularly and formally communicated, they may not be implemented because employees don’t see them as "real."
Consistent, organization-wide training is essential to a records management program that covers the entire life cycle of that information—from creation to retention to its eventual destruction. Here are some practices to consider:
1. Ensure that your records management processes include initial and ongoing scheduled programs for all employees both new and current.
2. Regularly communicate these policies and procedures to the organization.
3. Establish and enforce employee accountability for compliance with the program.
4. Include policy adherence as an element in performance appraisals and institute disciplinary actions for violations.
5. Consider establishing an Employee Acknowledgement policy requiring employees to read and sign a document indicating they understand the records management program and agree to abide by its terms.
6. Treat this program as formally as other federal or regulatory compliance-related initiatives such as those mandated by OSHA, the EPA, and the SEC.
Director, Records Management Product Marketing
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