The Vital Importance of a Records Management Policy
What happens when your employees actively resist your records management policies? Here are some tips on how to educate your team and put reward systems into place.
When you understand the importance of a records management policy, it can be frustrating to find out that your employees are willfully or neglectfully ignoring your records management program, thereby putting your entire organization at risk. Employees who don't see the value of compliance in their day-to-day tasks may be hesitant to fully process these regulations and the related requirements. Thankfully, by putting the right enforcement mechanisms into place, you can drive the necessary corrective actions.
Your Records Management Policies
It's best to provide your employees with information surrounding your organization's specific policies along with the benefits of these regulations. You should also inform your team of the objectives of this program and why it exists in the first place. Providing this rationale will help your team understand the importance of compliance to your organization as a whole. Furthermore, your regulations should define various different records management responsibilities and how they should be undertaken as well as the potential consequences of non-compliance.
Imagining the Alternative
If you don't put the necessary enforcement mechanisms in place, your team may not understand the compelling reasons for following your records management program. After all, employees may be stuck in a what's-in-it-for-me mindset. As is the case with corporate regulations surrounding expenses, attire and language, records management policies need to be followed for the benefit of the organization, not the individual.
During an audit or other compliance-related incident, your team would suffer if you didn't have a records management policy and staff in place — and it's important for your team to understand that. The litigation risk of not following records management policies should make employees shudder, as this non-compliance could result in multimillion dollar settlements or court decisions that cost your company jobs.
All too often, records management policies are crafted in a vacuum and are not tied into an organization as a whole. While many executives may only care about records management when it comes time for litigation, they must have an invested stake prior to those moments of risk. After all, it's the day-to-day actions of employees that ensure that the organization should have nothing to fear when litigation occurs.
Without real enforcement measures in place, your employees may not have enough of an incentive to remain compliant. This is where the gap between policy and reality can present true risks to your organization.
Carrots With Sticks
While enforcement mechanisms must exist, benefits should exist, as well. The latter will prevent your employees from perceiving records management policies as a burden. While simple things like pizza parties for compliant departments may not seem important in the grand scheme of things, it's the little benefits that get noticed, oftentimes before the potential for enforcement is necessary. Be sure to monitor each team's compliance on a regular basis so that you can see where additional training and guidance may be necessary.
The vital importance of a records management policy cannot be understated. But it's important to note that policies without enforcement are meaningless, and it's often easier to encourage compliance by putting benefits into place.