It’s not always easy for managers to get organizational support for their records management programs.
But managers who communicate the goals and value of their records management program to everyone within their organization (from senior executives to front-line staff) gain support and realize benefits. Chief among them: executive endorsement; input and participation from various business units; and budget dollars, as well as additional resource investment.
This blog post outlines eight ways for you to encourage corporate support for your records management program.
1. Meet with the corporate compliance officer
Ask about your organization’s compliance objectives and tell that person how your RM goals can help fulfill those objectives.
2. Explain how a robust RM program helps meet privacy requirements
Privacy laws require an organization to protect records using physical, technical, and administrative safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information involved.
Records management practices have emphasized those same types of safeguards since long before the advent of privacy laws, with some examples including file room security, locking file cabinets, discreet labeling and indexing systems, and secure document destruction methods.
3. Read internal and external audits of your organization
Tying the benefits of records management to an organization’s broader business objectives requires the records manager to stay informed about the results of internal and external audits.
For most government agencies and publicly traded corporations, audit reports (or portions thereof) are available for public examination. Other organizations distribute summaries of audit findings to departments, either in print form or via the corporate intranet.
Read all information available, and look for opportunities to improve your company’s compliance position and overall business efficiencies.
4. Identify your RM program’s ROI
Be prepared to present objective and accurate data showing how your program will save more money than it costs to develop and run.
For example, point to fines and other legal sanctions that can be imposed if RM strategies are determined to be lacking.
A comprehensive approach to managing records across their life cycle can save a company huge dollars from one year to the next, particularly in a market where office real estate has become scarcer and more expensive.
Don’t be afraid to quantify these savings in your annual budget submission or regular management reporting.
5. Take your RM program to committee
The ideal is that a RM committee exists in your organization, but even if there isn’t one, there are probably ad hoc committees within your organization where you can make your case, make your presence known, and show how RM fits into the organization’s goals.
When forming a committee devoted exclusively to records management is not workable, it may be a cue for you to take records management to stakeholder groups such as legal, audit, information technology, and facilities management.
6. Hold lunch and learns
If people in your organization are not lining up to get behind your latest records management development, it is important to take the message of records management to them.
Make sure the session is interesting to non-records management staff, with a generous helping of “What’s in it for me and my business?”
Rely heavily on the concepts of corporate compliance, space management, and cost savings, with a clear focus on records management best practices as a means to meeting more mainstream corporate ends.
7. Communicate internally
Both senior managers and frontline staff need regular reminders of your records management program and its role in managing risk, optimizing costs, and supporting business.
Communicating regularly can go a long way toward keeping interest in your program peaked over time.
Consider distributing a records management department newsletter within your organization, or emailing a link to a departmental webpage each time it is updated with news on your program.
8. Network with outside agencies
By getting involved in professional associations concerned with the records management field, you are in a better position to show the potential of your program to add value to the organization.
Professional associations in law, auditing, and general administration may also be eager to hear from records management professionals.