20 Common Records Management Mistakes
Being aware of these records management mistakes can help you be better prepared.
1. The first of twenty records management mistakes, is keeping your in-house – keeping things in-house can be fine up to a point but you need to be careful that it is not actually costing you more time and money than a specialist RM partner would.
2. Failing to define Records Management Policy – organising and managing records effectively cannot be done without proper planning. That said, utilising RM policy that is incomplete or has not kept up with the changes in your organisation and technology is almost as bad as failing to plan.
3. Failing to educate your staff – if you want to keep your RM Programme in then educate your staff about why it is important and make sure they understand and are trained to follow the processes and procedures.
4. Thinking you are safe from legal action and do not need a Records Management Programme – over confidence and inattention is a sure why to invite a wolf to dinner. Both create a lack of awareness, which opens the door for a nasty surprise.
5. Inadequate Records Management training – training your staff inadequately will not keep your RM Programme running. Training should not be a once off action but a regular one that also encourages staff to voice their questions and opinions.
6. Not checking documents before destroying them – being too hasty to throw documents in a wastepaper bin can lead to legal and security issues. Unless a document is very clearly not a record, it should be checked against a retention list and shredded accordingly.
7. Not converting paper documents to digital documents – the best way to backup paper documents is to scan them into an electronic format, thus saving storage space and making duplication easy.
8. Storing your paper documents on your own premises – this is a great way to increase your rental costs and reduce your working space. It is also good for increasing your stationary bill and creating security loopholes.
9. Putting off moving your records to an off-site facility – if you have decided to move your records to an offsite location then get it done right away. The longer you delay the harder it will get and you will start to accumulate more records, which will then increase the duration of the move.
10. Using self-storage units – This is one of the most common records management mistakes. While the cost savings of this option may look attractive, there are many disaster mitigation features missing. For example, one day you needed some of your records and found that they were damaged due to water leakage and the accompanying mould. Proper record storage facilities are more expensive for a reason, but this higher cost will more than pay for itself should you experience a disaster.
11. Not properly organizing and indexing files – this is a sure way to lose production time as documents go missing and need to be hunted down.
12. Failing to review your RM Programme – reviewing your RM Programme is a good way to improve it and ensure it can meet the needs of your organisation.
13. Lack of long-term data integrity checks – no storage media lasts forever. Make sure you check your data periodically and create new backups from time to time.
14. Staying up to date with legislation – ignorance is, unfortunately not accepted when it comes to adhering to the law.
15. Failing to ensure your records management programme and technology is supported long-term – keeping yourself abreast of new RM technology and trends will assist you to maintain an effective, and cost efficient programme.
16. Failing to protect important digital documents with passwords – adding a password to your documents is simple. Creating a new marketing strategy after your competition gets a hold of yours is not so simple.
17. Not creating a Retention Schedule – you cannot hold on to all your records forever, nor can you simply destroy them when you feel like it. A retention schedule will save you money and perhaps your bacon too.
18. Failing to back up company digital data offsite – hard drives crash and computers get stolen, make sure you take precautions. Backing up your digital data offsite will help keep your business running.
19. Failing to maintain a regular shredding schedule – do not let your shredding pile up. It reduces security, creates more work, increases storage costs and can impact your peace of mind.
20. Hiring a Record & Information Management company that has poor storage facilities – if you want true peace of mind, ask to see your RM partner’s facilities and ask what measures are in place to prevent and handle disasters.
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