Records management is the process of controlling the creation, acquisition, maintenance, and safe disposal of organizational historic information and data. In other words, it refers to the management of a firm’s important information such as active or inactive physical records as well as digital records.
Records management is of vital importance for any organization, small or large as data and information flow is the foundational block of any business. Whether it is electronic records keeping or managing records physically, both play a vital role in your business processes.
In this write-up, we are going to explore tips and tricks that may lead to effective records management for organizations of just about any size and stature.
- Define Procedures and Policies
This is the most critical phase that will help you in precisely defining the steps and rules for effectively maintaining records for the movement of its creation to destruction. Having well-thought-out policies will enable your organization’s records to be carefully treated and managed in a consistent manner.
Thus, to be as clear as possible, allocate your time in devising a viable strategy by paying particular attention to the following policy-making tips that may go a long way in your overall records management practices.
- Define rules and procedures that are simple to understand. Clarify each step in the policy so that it’s easy for every staff member to follow through.
- Avoid Procedural Complexities. If the regulations and laws are hard to follow, still some of your archiving staff will find a way to work around them. It may include exposing your organization’s sensitive records or erasing them prematurely.
- Clearly define the different tasks and responsibilities of the records archiving employees.
- Describe all phases of a record’s life cycle and processes.
- With regards to the records retention policy, clearly describe the kind of records your firm may plan to work with.
- Ensure that there is a safety and records security policy in place to prevent unauthorized access to the organizational records.
Keep in mind that these rules are clearly communicated to all employees and are effectively published throughout the organization. Every strategy and policy can only be effective and successful if all the staff members in the company support it, and easily understand it.
- Enable an Easier Access to the Records
Make sure that all of your company’s records are easily available and accessible at all ends of the organization. Start by making good use of metadata via systematic management and then use the system to make information available easier and faster whenever needed.
- Decide Appropriate Time to Archive Records
Records are to be available as long as your organization needs them. Thus, it is very important to figure out when and which type of records should be archived. Records that are no longer applicable for the daily business operation yet hold a value for the organization is then required to be archived safely.
- Establish and Implement a Records Retention Policy
It is a crucial step for preserving information, control and complying with the retention policy. For effective records management, every industry is supposed to stick to a set of regulations and laws that a country entails. Hence, figuring out these country-specific and industry-specific rules and establishing a records retention timeline is one the most important aspects that need to be considered.
- Records Monitoring and Tracking
You must ensure that you hold a complete history and control over the lifespan of your organizational records. Ensure that there is enough use of technology that enables you to know where your data and information are maintained, who may have access to the records, and who can modify, review and process the data.
- Choose Appropriate Archiving Mood
You can have your data and documents stored through document scanning and digitizing them to electronic records, or you can just preserve it in hard or physical copies. In addition, you must also choose whether to archive on-site or off-site as both come with their own set of pros and cons.
- Onsite Archiving
You can archive your company’s records either onsite or offsite. Onsite archiving refers to the process of records management within the premises of your business. Onsite archiving typically involves purchasing software, hiring additional resources, and providing them the training of effective records management. In addition, onsite records management also requires the allocation of space within the realm of your business.
- Offsite Archiving
On the other hand, offsite archiving refers to the process of outsourcing the entire records management process to a third-party archiving services provider. Mostly, these archiving companies are designed and equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and trained professionals that take care of the company legacy records from inception till the shedding phase.
- Archive Physically or Electronically
If you want to secure your valuable records for life, archiving firms have a solution for you. Signup for the scanning and digitization service of the archiving company. It includes converting your entire documents into electronic versions and will upload them to a secure drive on the internet. Many businesses prefer to have their records digitized for various reasons, such as lifetime presence, security, and easier access from anywhere anytime.
You can also go with just archiving your records in physical format. As an archiving firm receives your records, they sort them out and put them in bar-code readable cotton boxes in their secure warehouses. Mostly, these warehouses are designed to provide enough security, proper air conditioning, and round-the-clock surveillance to ensure no unauthorized personals can mess up with the records. Some companies usually go with a mixture of both physical and electronic as well.
No organization, large or small can service without records and data flow. Records as being the most important asset need appropriate maintenance and looking-after strategy and policymaking that are easy for the staff to understand and implement. Certain tips that we have laid out can help pave the way for you to come with a well-defined records management process. Effective records management comes with numerous benefits such it reduces the work burden on employees and helps optimize the business processes.