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The Psychology of Records Management: Energize Compliance with Communication

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Communication? Yes, communication. We’ve already touched on communications when we discussed that training will energize…

Communication? Yes, communication. We’ve already touched on communications when we discussed that training will energize compliance, but communication goes much, much deeper than that. There is such a tremendous benefit to having an ongoing Communications Plan and regular communications about your IG/RIM program, that it is its own energizing strategy.

I digress, but lack of communication can be devastating. In fact, lack of communication is often used as a heightened level of punishment. For penal institutions there is solitary confinement. No contact – no communication with others. A well-known institution calls their most severe form of punishment “excommunication” – no communication. Now no one is suggesting that organizations that do not communicate about IG/RIM are punishing their workforce, but if there is lack of communication, it is undermining your program.

Communication has two major components, the message and the delivery. It is important for the message to be clear, relevant, and purposeful (hence the need for a plan). It is important that the delivery be timely, authoritative, and across the company. Here are some thought starters for message and delivery options to develop or enhance your plan:

Common IG/RIM Messages                    

Value: The importance of IG/RIM to the organization. What benefits does the company expect overall? What benefit is expected from the current initiatives?

Initiatives / Goal setting: What specifically are you asking departments and individuals to do? What is expected to be accomplished when the initiative or goal is complete?

Status: What is the company’s status in accomplishing IG/Rim initiatives and goals? What are the departments’ statuses in accomplishing IG/RIM goals? This can be presented in a way that either directly or indirectly encourages competition between work groups, providing additional motivation to accomplish the goal.

Instructions: Specific things to do to become compliant and stay compliant. How do individuals and department get from their present state to the desired state and stay there?

Common Delivery Methods

Say it: Include an audible messaging component in your communications plan for keeping the workforce current with IG/RIM program messages. Messaging can be provided live, as video clips during company meetings, or as on-demand video clips. Establish an IG/RIM “Speakers Bureau” to maintain a pool of speakers that are well informed and able to `communicate IG/RIM messages periodically per your plan, and also on short notice as special needs arise. Include executives and organizational leaders in the Speakers Bureau.

Print it: Utilize all forms of print including memos to staff, memos to workforce, newsletters, tip sheets, training manuals and desktop manuals.

Post it: Utilize bulletin boards and other common posting locations for highly visible concise informative messages including flyers, notices, bulletins, graphs and charts.

Show it: Utilize stand-up presentations, instructional video clips, hands on demonstrations and training.

Healthy IG/RIM programs are dynamic with a lot of moving parts. Hence, there is always something to talk about. Records are a company’s greatest asset, so why shouldn’t the company establish continuous IG/RIM communications as an ongoing strategy? Consider your Communications Plan as part of the necessary maintenance for these corporate assets. Continuously communicating about IG/RIM enables the work force to see IG/RIM as dynamic, a corporate priority, and relevant to daily activities. Utilizing an appropriate mix of messages and delivery methods will energize your program and keep it at a high level of energy.

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