Making sure that your company maintains and stores records properly is one of the most important day-to-day tasks for any business. Having an effective records management system in place makes this task much easier.
Underlying any effective record management program is adherence to retention guidelines. Whether physical or digital, you must maintain any document or record until the end of its retention date. Then, they must be shredded or deleted once it passes it.
While software like a document management system, or a service like offsite document storage can streamline the process for your company, it’s still important to build out and maintain a record management system that’s specific to your company’s needs and activities.
With the right program in place, your company will have a road-map that tracks and files all your records. This will lead to a more effective and efficient work environment.
8 Steps For An Effective Record Management System
How you implement a record management system is dependent on several factors based on your organization’s model. You have to consider the size of your office, the laws and regulations that your company has to follow, and the type of management system that makes sense for how you interact with your data.
Here are the 8 steps that we believe are the mainstays of a solid records management program.
Step 1: Complete inventory of all records
Before you put a new process in place, you should understand the scope of your project.
Do a complete inventory of all the records you want to manage. You can implement processes that coincide with your business and your data management needs of your team.
Step 2: Determine who is going to manage the process and records
Once you determine the way you want to manage your records, you need to decide two things:
- Who is going to manage each step of the process?
- What steps of the process need to be managed?
By clearly defining these two things, you can ensure that your system is going to be sustainable with the ability to scale.
Step 3: Develop a records retention and destruction schedule
It’s important to identify and monitor the various retention times for all the records in your company.
A records retention program provides for the review, retention, and destruction of records received or created in the course of regular business activities. This program maintains the guidelines for how long certain records should be kept and the conditions in which they should be destroyed.
This outlined schedule will help eliminate the risk of older documents causing legal problems. Additionally, it will cut costs by reducing storage needs of old and unneeded documents.
Step 4: Determine the best way to store and manage your records
Most companies use several different systems to store and manage their records. This is often dependent on the type of business, and the workflow of their office.
Some companies prefer a document management system or a cloud storage service, eliminating the need to store paper files. They scan and index all of their documents, making them easier to manage and find.
Other companies prefer to utilize a hard-copy storage system through a records management company and secure off-site records storage. This allows them to have access to their documents any time they need them. Moreover, companies can still maintain hard-copy records for legal or regulatory purposes.
Step 5: Create and document proper procedures
By creating a thorough procedure for your new records management plan, you can verify that the proper steps are taken moving forward. Keeping everyone on the same page with their records management eliminates any mistakes that can lead to inefficiency or loss of data.
Step 6: Create a disaster recovery plan
Accidents and natural disasters happen. Make sure you have a disaster recovery plan in place to help eliminate any issues in case of a natural disaster, fire, or flood.
A solid backup plan will give you the peace of mind in knowing your data is recoverable in case of any emergencies.
Step 7: Training and implementation
Training your employees after implementation of your new records management plan is the next step.
By selecting the right team and ensuring you have well-defined processes and procedures, your records management will be a success.
8: Maintaining and auditing the record management system
Once you implement the system and complete your training, monitor and document any issues or inefficiencies that tend to happen with any large-scale implementation.
Maintaining a regular process update and audit procedure will ensure that you correct any problems as quickly as possible.
Record Nations Helps Companies Implement a Record Management System
At Record Nations, we can help you create a records management program to manage or store your records, convert to a document management system, or set you up with the proper professional records management company that works best for your business.
To get started, fill out the form on this page, use the live chat, or give us a call at (866) 385-3706.