Last year during their annual assessment, the National Archives and Records Administration identified three key challenges in records management: Lack of support from senior management, resources and funds. These challenges are not small by any means, but they aren’t insurmountable either.
Lack of senior management support
Getting support for records management from senior leadership means you have to talk about it in a way they understand and care about. Make sure the c-suite understands the real benefits of a good records management system.
- More efficient office
- Records will be compliant
- Reduction of operation costs
- Protecting sensitive data
- Establishing best practices
The benefits listed above are all things that senior management cares about. Being prepared for audits and keeping vital records protected from breach will save your company time, embarrassment and money.
When you have the conversation with senior management, be sure to relate these benefits to specific goals they have for the organization. With high-profile data breaches constantly in the news, it’s unlikely that they aren’t already concerned about issues and records management should fit nicely into their plans to mitigate risks.
Lack of resources
Lack of staffing is certainly an issue when it comes to managing records properly. However, if done correctly, every employee should be participating in a records management program. Be proactive. If records are managed properly from the moment they are created, the smoother process is not only more effective, but requires much less work in the future to secure it.
Educating employees about how to properly handle records from their creation will help organizations reduce the resources necessary to manage them later. Teamwork is essential and working across departments will not only make your program more efficient it will also reduce the amount of designated resources needed to fulfill it.
Lack of funds
A good records management system will actually save a company money. It’s important that the senior management, who may be less than supportive of records management programs, understand this. Storage space is valuable, and with a good plan in place that systematically reduces paper and stores files electronically can save a company 30% or more in storage costs. It takes time and money to handle files and fill filing cabinets. An effective system will save you both by ensuring only necessary documents are saved and that they’re saved in the most cost-effective way.
Know what the organizational spend is for records storage and how much a proper system could save the company. Include staff, space, time spent looking for poorly managed files and resources when calculating the total costs. You’ll likely find that a good records management system more than pays for itself. Protect your budget by showing exactly how much of the program pays for itself.
Trends in technology and how records are created is no doubt complicating your records management system. Dealing with those obstacles will be easier with senior management support, resources and funds. It’s time to make people not just understand the necessity of careful records management, but also to care about it.