Many RIM managers are tasked with finding ways to ensure their RIM programs are effectively and accurately used. The best way to accomplish this is to develop a policies and procedures manual for staff. This will ensure your organization reaps all of its RIM program benefits. It should outline what responsibilities, expectations, and authority each team member has in all stages of the RIM lifecycle, and compliment corporate policies and strengthen management requirements.
A detailed policies and procedures manual is a critical aspect of maintaining the RIM program you have designed at the user level. It will perform three important tasks;
- act as a “how to” for the application of corporate policies and procedures regarding RIM
- establish the responsibility for individual team members to manage the information they own
- serve as a training tool for new staff and a reference for existing staff
As such an integral part of your ground-level RIM, it is important to review and update this manual when your organization changes the way it controls, stores, and processes information.
What should be included in a policies and procedures manual for staff?
The manual should contain policies, procedures, and guidelines on all of the components of a viable RIM Program including:
- policy statement
- program objectives
- record identification
- application of a functional classification and retention schedule
- record type (paper, electronic)
- storage environment and structure
- record maintenance
- responsibilities: management and staff
- updating the system
- authority: who and over what
Why it matters
Having appropriate and practical policies and procedures relating to the management of your organization’s information helps your team know what records they own and are responsible for. It also helps them understand the methodology for the storage, maintenance, and retention schedules. A manual for staff will add value to your organization by ensuring they have the necessary tools and information to carry out their RIM responsibilities.
A defined and documented policies and procedures program will allow you to ensure your organization reaps all of the benefits of your RIM programs. Not only does it outline expectations, authority, and responsibility for your RIM activities, it also ensures that your personnel will know how to properly treat records in all phases of the RIM lifecycle.