Making sure that your company records are maintained and stored properly is a project that could be the most important day-to-day work for your business.
It’s a critical step to ensure that you are retaining and shredding the right documents at the right time, and that someone has a handle on how your process is organized.
Although there are intermediary steps like offsite document storage that can increase workflow and productivity, developing and maintaining a complete records management program will have a positive impact throughout your company.
This type of program gives you a road-map to ensuring that every record is filed appropriately, returned in the right place, is easy to find, and when it’s necessary, disposed of properly.
8 Steps For An effective Records Management Program
There are dozens of ways to go about an effective records management program, and how you implement it really is dependent on several different factors. You have to consider the size of your office, the laws and regulations that your company has to follow, and the type of system you want to implement.
After looking at several different ways to manage records, here are the 8 steps that we believe are the mainstays of a solid records management program.
Step 1: Completely inventory all records
Before you put processes and plans in place, you need to understand what you’re dealing with.
By doing a complete inventory of all the records you want to manage, you will be able to implement the right processes and ensure that you have the proper staff in place to ensure that you can maintain and improve your records management program.
Step 2: Determine who is going to manage the process and the records
Once you have determined the way you want to manage your records, you need to determine two things:
- Who is going to manage each step of the process, and
- 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 over time.
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.
It helps maintain and contain guidelines for how long certain records should be kept and how they should be destroyed.
Implementing this schedule will help eliminate the risk of older documents causing legal problems, and will save you money by reducing storage costs by shredding documents that is past its useful life.
Step 4: Determine the best way to store and manage your records
Most companies use several different systems to store and manage their records depending on the type of business that they’re in and the workflow of their office.
Some companies prefer a document management system and a cloud storage service, eliminating the need to store paper files. All their documents are scanned and indexed, 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 to manage their files.
That way, they have access to their documents any time they need them, and still maintain hard-copy records for legal or regulatory purposes.
No matter what type of system you use, make sure that you choose a system that works best for your workflow and your company- a bad investment in the wrong system can lead to bad records management– and more headaches for your business.
Step 5: Create and document proper procedures
Now that you have selected how you’re going to manage your records, you need to create step-by-step procedures to ensure that you have the tools in place to implement your program.
Think of this as the instruction manual- the more detail the better!
Step 6: Create a disaster recovery plan
Accidents and natural disasters happen- make sure that you have a disaster recovery plan in place to help eliminate any issues in case of a natural disaster, fire, flood, or worse.
It’s always a good idea to have a solid backup system in place as well.
Step 7: Training and Implementation
Now all the hard work is done! Well, except for the most difficult part- training and implementation.
This is where selecting the right team and ensuring you have well-defined processes and procedures will come in handy.
Step 8: Maintaining and auditing the program
Once the system is implemented and you’ve completed all your training, It’s important to 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.
Although this isn’t a complete records management plan, it should give you a good idea of what it takes to put this type of program in place.
By attending to the details, you should be able to implement a solid program quickly and efficiently.
Don’t dwell on the details- let our experts help!
At Record Nations, we can help you create a records management program to manage or store your records, convert to an 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 the right of this page, or give us a call at (866) 385-3706. Within minutes, you’ll have several companies in your area to choose from.