Part one of this series considered the current state of affairs that businesses in Canada find themselves with respect to managing records. This part outlines the steps involved in implementing a practical records management program.
The basic steps involved in developing a practical strategy that will be used by an organization’s employees are:
Assess the Way Records are Currently Managed
Every organization is different. Within each organization, business units, groups, and individuals all have their own ways of dealing with the vast amounts of information that pass their desk on a daily basis.
To interest people in managing records differently than they do now, the solution must satisfy the principle of local value. In other words, what they get out of the solution must exceed what they put into it. People have limited time, limited energy and limited enthusiasm. If they have to spend more time managing records, they must stop doing something else. The value it delivers must exceed what people have to put into it. Otherwise they will not bother.
Implementing an enterprise wide records management strategy is a change process. To be successful, we need to change attitudes and workflows and tools. People need to change how they see records from a personal attribute to a collective, from a source of personal power to a source of company power, and from something acquired in the classroom to something acquired every day through work. If people can understand this with their heads and grasp it in their hearts, then the change will be successful.
As this is a very personal equation, it is imperative that a clear understanding of how people are managing records is known. The only way to accomplish this is to speak to the people in the trenches. In our experience, this is most effective when the interviewer is from outside the organization – employees are less inhibited and more candid when there is no perceived threat of being singled out for “not following the rules”.
Part 3 of this series will delve into developing an effective records management strategy.