Records Management

The Psychology of Records Management – Energize Compliance by Changing the Company Attitude

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As noted last time (The Psychology of Records Management – Energize Compliance with Motivation and…

As noted last time (The Psychology of Records Management – Energize Compliance with Motivation and Training), Information Governance (IG) and Records and Information Management (RIM) initiatives often stall when it comes to full compliance for individuals at the desktop level. Motivation and training are most helpful, but not alone in energizing compliance. Compliance is also energized with a positive workforce attitude toward managing records.

Workplace Induced Attitudes

Certainly there are priorities for work activities, and activities supporting the customer experience (especially those with customer required deadlines) are at the top of the list. No one is suggesting that deadlines be missed or customers be disappointed because time is taken to manage one’s records. But for many companies the priority for managing records approaches zero. Sadly, many corporate cultures have allowed workers to believe that their time is too valuable to be spent managing records. They shouldn’t be bothered to create, organize, store, or dispose of records in a prescribed way, even if they created the records. Their supervisor never asks if they are up to date in managing their records, or if they need time to organize and/or dispose of records. It is as if managing records is not a part of their job.

Perhaps inadvertently, corporate leadership confirms that perspective by not providing communications and/or training on records management. The workforce needs to be told that records are corporate assets and that the creation, maintenance, and disposal of records (according to the Records Retention Schedule), is a necessity. The workforce needs to be told that managing records is a worthy and expected part of each worker’s job, and needs to be accomplished in a timely manner.

Corporate messaging and training are commonly provided for:

Anti-discrimination Affirmative Action Substance Abuse
Code of Conduct Conflict of Interest Sexual Harassment
Security Workplace Violence Privacy

What are workers supposed to think when they get communications and training for these, but silence for Records Management? The message received is that managing records is not a corporate priority, and maybe is not even a requirement.

Oh, but Privacy is the law, you have to train the workforce for that! Agreed – but so is Records Management! There are thousands of federal and local governmental statutes and regulatory requirements that require companies to keep specific records for a required period of time. Companies can be fined and individuals held accountable for not complying with these laws.

Companies would do well to elevate the respect given records. Records viewed as common, are actually the lifeblood of the company – nothing moves, nothing happens without them. Records viewed as special – such as patents, copyrights, and designs are what set the company apart from its competitors. Visibly esteeming records and their management will create a positive workplace environment and energize compliance. The cost, or more correctly, the investment, is small, and the rewards are great. Can you afford not to instill a positive attitude?

 

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