Records Management

The Psychology of Records Management – What’s In It For Me?

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Individuals would do well to develop a positive attitude towards Information Governance (IG) and Records…

Individuals would do well to develop a positive attitude towards Information Governance (IG) and Records and Information Management (RIM), regardless of the environment established by their company (see: The Psychology of Records Management – Energize Compliance by Changing the Company Attitude). The question sometimes asked, but always present, when it comes to Records Management compliance is: “Why should I? or as often phrased “What’s in it for me?” The summary answer to that question is “Plenty!” Plenty – even if the company has not adopted the best practice of including an individual’s management of, and performance with, records as a formal part of their annual performance review.

Three Key Understandings

First, let’s establish that Information Governance and Records and Information Management are not going away. The program will be tweaked and updated, but the company needs records to operate and there are legal and regulatory requirements imposed from the outside. So IG and RIM are here to stay.

Second, let’s establish that records are special to the company. In fact records are more than the lifeblood of a company, they are corporate assets (see: The Psychology of Records Management – The Foundation) and need to be effectively managed to sustain the company and for the efficient operation of the company.

Third, (and this is what you’ve been waiting for) one’s value to the company isn’t measured with good looks, wit, and charm, but with one’s performance with records. If you create and manage your records and information well (and yes, let’s include email) your efficiency, that is your time spent in valuable job activities, will be high, enabling you to stand out among your peers.

Let’s get specific:

Do you create records? A record creator’s performance and accomplishments are identified and measured by the records created or contributed to, whether an invention, an analysis, a sale, a presentation, or something else. Your contribution to the company is found in your creative genius, coupled with your ability to clearly communicate and record your creation into the understanding and usability of others.

Do you process records? Do you transfer information from one realm to another, providing interpretation or assuring clarity of content? You have a vital role in the efficient operation of the company and your good work enables others to perform at their best. If you don’t already, consider developing a measure of your contribution likely including volume, accuracy, and the value of the activity enabled for others.

Do you hold records? Do you retain, store, and protect records? Do you provide easy access of these records to those who need them, and protect the records from the elements, possible disasters, and those who have no business accessing them? Do you dispose of those records, and only those records, that have completed their useful life for the company? Your diligent work has high value to a company, although typically taken for granted until there is a failure.

It is in an Individual’s own interest to not only have a positive attitude toward records, IG and RIM, but to embrace them. Performance with records is an opportunity to showcase one’s value to the company, demonstrating knowledge, wisdom, and skill. Compliance and good RIM work habits are a differentiator from one’s peers – one more reason to get the higher ranking, or the promotion. One’s records, and performance with records, are major components in determining how the company will recognize and reward your contribution. Don’t you want maximum recognition? Yes, clearly there is something in it for you, to not only be compliant with IG and RIM policies, but to personally excel in your performance with records and information.


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