Five Steps for Successful Records Management

September 18th, 2013

Effective records management is an important function for any business, particularly for organizations that are highly regulated and must be able to access data quickly and easily. But managing records can be a complicated process, and how can you be sure your program meets the needs of your company?


Shelves of Hospital FilesHere’s a quick look at the five key steps for implementing a successful records management system:


  1. Define your strategy: What is your plan for records retention? What about records disposition? Many companies simply save every record, but this approach is costly and inefficient, particularly with paper records that must be stored and aren’t easily accessible. Determine which documents are important to keep – for legal or record-keeping purposes – and which can be deleted or shredded.


  1. Gain buy in: It’s critical for executives to understand industry and organization record requirements, policies and procedures. Make sure they’re fully on board with your records management strategy.


  1. Create a records system: Once your strategy is in place, determine your system for filing and indexing your records, whether paper or digital, to ensure easy access and retrieval across your organization. This can be a daunting task, and more and more companies are turning to records management professionals to build and implement their systems.


  1. Consider records preservation: What is the lifecycle of your records? While many documents are important to preserve, others simply take up drive space or clutter desktops. Develop a document preservation strategy for your company’s critical records, and consider working with a trained specialist to preserve important paper and electronic forms.


  1. Train your staff: Ensure your employees understand your records management strategy, policies and procedures, whether through a training program, published FAQ, or company intranet explaining the do’s and don’ts of your business’ records system. You may even consider internal audits of your staff to check for compliance, especially if your company is subject to outside audits.


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