Ten Mistakes in Records Management
Records management is key to the growth of any business or organisation. There are however some mistakes in records management that could cost the organisation its stability and stunt its growth if not kept in check. Below are 10 off the table mistakes you must avoid at all costs.
- Keeping all your records in-house: All organisations especially those categorised as SME’s start with internal records management, they all must get to a point where they must move them. In house storage is the most expensive and least secure for inactive physical files and information captured in an organisations various databases.
- Not having a Records Management policy: Every organisation knows the need to have proper planning, it is the core of any business. It is therefore important to create policies that define the records management process whether in house or outsourced. Using an outdated records management policy that is rigid & outdated is no better than having none. Innovation and flexibility is key in records management and should be embraced.
- Failing to train your staff: what is the point of having knowledge that no one else can use or a process that only you know how to follow? It beats sense to have a records management policy and system that your staff cannot use. In any case, records management process should be part of their orientation once they are hired.
- Not preparing for legal action: All organisations must be prepared for any aspect of their operations that can attract legal action including failing to have a well organised records management system in place. Lack of awareness is the root cause of closure due to legal issues but it is also no redress therefore compliance in records management is very important for survival.
- Failing to counter check documents before destroying them: A good records management system must have a retention list that should be checked before any documents are destroyed. Avoid hasty destruction of any document as it could lead to legal and security issues. All records must be clearly marked to differentiate them from all other documents. This will prevent shredding of records and other critical documents.
- Keeping records in hard copy only: These are easily destroyed and compromised. The best way to ensure minimal destruction to the records is to digitize them and protect them with passwords that are available to particular individuals especially for critical organisational records.
- Procrastination: When the time to move the records comes, do it. Procrastination only increases the number of records that will need moving and increases the duration and cost of the move.
- Opting for self- storage units: This is a very common mistake that organisations make in records management. Self-storage units lack a series of disaster mitigation features including; theft, swapping of documents and damage by water. Proper records storage facilities are much more expensive than the manual storage because they mitigate against the above and several others depending on your needs as an organisation.
- Failure to index files: If records are not properly documented, a series of events may occur; it takes longer to retrieve a file, longer to serve a customer and the possibility of putting it in the wrong place is very high. This then leads to cases of missing documents and the legal thrashing that follows thereafter and in extreme cases folding of businesses.
- Not carrying out integrity tests: Nothing lasts forever. Every organisation must have frequent data checks especially on long term data to ensure they are safe and have not been discarded or tampered with. It is also important to ensure that any upgrades to the records management system are applied to the long term data to avoid it becoming obsolete.
Because records management is key to the survival of any organisation, it is important to ensure that the system is up & running to fit your organisational needs. Do not be caught up in the mess that comes with making the above mistakes in records management.
Writer: Josephine Wanja