11 Records Management Best Practices in 2024

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak
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Records management best practices are essential for organizations to maintain their legal and regulatory compliance. In the US, this record management approach is primarily the responsibility of industries such as financial services, healthcare, and insurance. They also help organizations to manage their records lifecycle more efficiently by organizing them, labeling them, storing them, and disposing of them.

Records management is important to organizations because it helps them fulfill their business objectives, but it could be a challenging process. It also helps them keep track of all the documents they have in their possession and find documents that are not in use. In addition, it can help prevent data breaches by ensuring that there is an adequate process for storing, securing, and destroying sensitive information.

records management best practices

The records management best practices are:

#1- Defining business need and goals

It is important for organizations to establish a clear understanding of the need for records management. This includes looking at the current storage systems, how these are being used, records management implementation plan, and what is required in the future.

The records management process provides a framework for the creation, destruction, and disposition of records. Through this process, organizations ensure that appropriate and legal records are created, retained based on the stipulations outlined in their maintenance schedules, destroyed when no longer needed to comply with requirements or regulations (i.e., court orders), and disposed properly to protect individuals’ privacy and confidentiality of records.

#2- Establish a process for identifying records

The process of identifying and documenting records is a crucial step in the records management process and considered one of the top records management best practices. The types of records that should be included vary depending on the type of archive, but generally, records should be included if they are created as evidence of an event or are created by a government body and document the activities, decisions, or operations of that government body.

The records management risks are high, and the process is a complex system, with many steps and processes. The first step in this process is to identify all of the records that should be included in an archive.

#3- Reviewing and updating policies and procedures

It is important to review and update records management policies and procedures in order to maintain the integrity, confidentiality, governance, and availability of records. For example, all records should be identified and stored in a designated area that is part of the established records maintenance policy.

In our experience, the records manager should be held accountable to create and update these procedures whenever a change is introduced.

#4- Creating a records maintenance schedule

To avoid the potential costs and risks associated with the loss of records, a retention schedule should be created. It specifies how long to keep specific records and is typically determined by three factors: management, business, and legal.

Management: For personnel records, a schedule may be set at one year.

Business: A schedule for financial records may specify different periods depending on the type of document that is being retained, with financial accounting and tax documents typically requiring longer-than-personal-files periods to comply with IRS regulations.

Legal: Retention periods for legal records may vary depending on the type of document and the nature of your business.

#5. Identifying the records management team

Records management benefits are enormous and identifying the records management team is a key success factor in any business. The team is tasked with the responsibility of keeping track of records and ensuring that they are stored securely until they are no longer needed. In some cases, this can include shredding or purging the content in order to maintain data storage limits.

#6- Setting up a workflow that is easy to use by all team members

To ensure that all data is captured and stored in the most appropriate format, it’s important to set up a records management workflow.

The data processing workflow is to:

Capture and maintain the data.

Store the data in a central location within the organization.

Manage and control which users have access to which records.

Control what happens with that data after it is no longer needed (privacy, disposal, archiving).

#7- Establishing a secure location for storing records

Your records must be stored securely in a safe location that is not accessible to unauthorized people. Consider the following when deciding on a location:

• Offsite storage accessible only by authorized personnel with the appropriate clearance level or credentials.

• A secure facility with multiple layers of protection, such as a vault in a bank or on the grounds of a higher-security facility, like an embassy.

• A business that handles electronic information.

#8- Record, track, and monitor records

Records are constantly moving in and out of storage, as well as between colleagues and departments. Without a comprehensive classification and monitoring system in place, records can easily slide through the channels and vanish.

Keeping records of what the organization does on a day-to-day basis helps document the activities, decisions, and processes that they follow. Without these records, the organization can’t measure its success or know what’s going wrong. Tracking and monitoring records are vital to any company’s success and future.

#9- Ensuring employees have access to updated policies

Keeping employees informed about new policies and procedures is an important task for any organization. Policies will vary from one organization to the next, so it is up to management to ensure that all employees have access to updated policies on their organization’s website.

#10- Train employees

Managing documents and records can be a time-consuming task for managers. This is because there are a lot of processes that have to be followed and it’s not always easy to remember them all. In order to alleviate the burden on your managers, create a guide for employees on how to manage their own documents.

The best RM software is the most essential piece of technology in any organization. It enables an organization to remain organized, efficient, and productive by providing a central repository for important documents, such as contracts, policies, and procedures.

This is one of the most important records management best practices and usually organizations don’t give it is value.

#11- Follow up on the latest trends

It is very critical for organizations that are serious about RM to keep on following up on the records management trends in order to stay valid and future proof their implementation.

A good records management plan is important for any organization to maintain a strong and healthy culture. It ensures that the records are properly managed, organized, and protected from any damages.

It states the organization’s records management policy. This includes the process of record creation, maintenance, storage, and disposition. The procedure has to be approved by top management and also needs to mention when a change in termination or disposal of any record is allowed. There have to be due dates for the disposal of certain types of records.

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