My last two blog posts have addressed communication-related matters. This post also addresses communication, but in this case how it relates to RIM employee awareness and training. As I have mentioned in my past posts, effective communication is a business essential.  However, sometimes there are unique challenges when it comes to RIM communication.  Some organizations (less highly regulated) do not place as much of a priority on RIM versus other company departments that are revenue-generating and viewed as core functions. Therefore, many of us find ourselves in the position of RIM “Promoter.”

RIM Awareness:

Employee awareness of the RIM program is key to ensuring its success. When I was hired in 2006 as the corporate Records Manager for a fortune 300 company, I was the first Records Manager formally with the title and position. In 2016 when I changed jobs (to another Fortune 300 company), again I was the first Records Manager the company had hired. I mention this because in both instances, my staff and I faced the struggle to ensure employees knew there was a RIM department, our mission, and that they had a resource to contact for RIM-related matters.

I do not know how many of my colleagues face similar challenges. If you work for a company that is based in a central location, the challenges may not be as daunting.  However, if your organization has field locations and is geographically dispersed, the effort to make all the operations aware of the RIM department as a resource can be more significant. As always, obtaining executive or senior management leadership support for RIM initiatives is a factor. Communications to employees require they spend time away from their given job tasks. Our job is to justify and demonstrate to the appropriate management level, the benefit of the communications, and how RIM awareness and training will enhance organizational compliance and productivity.

In order to promote the RIM message to the organization, we have to get the message out to the masses. For most employees, RIM is a “dry”, non-engaging topic. We have to be creative and educate ourselves on communication options. This includes new, fun, engaging approaches, proven best practices, and internal and vendor-related communication resources available to you for bringing RIM awareness to employees.

I recently attended a vendor webinar that solicited questions from the attendees.  The majority of the webinar involved fundamental RIM issues such as employee awareness and training. I know, it is 2020 and some would think our profession would have advanced past these issues.  However, they continue to be a reality for many organizations. This is a primary reason why I started the Records Management Resource (RMR) website, and my blog.

Once a company has established a RIM department, awareness can grow naturally, organically over time.  However, this approach can take years to manifest and create awareness, guidance, and compliance. In order to hasten and help ensure RIM awareness in your company, we have to take the lead and be the promotor. Below, are some approaches you can take for creating RIM awareness:

  • Monthly, quarterly newsletter (determine frequency)
    • No more than 1-2 pages
    • Determine the method of distribution, e.g. email, Intranet
    • Determine the distribution contacts
    • Determine what content is relevant to the audience
    • Solicit feedback for future newsletter content
    • Include content such as “word searches”, games such as what is a record and was is not
    • Include Incentives (if applicable/authorized) such as gift cards and recognition for participation
  • Posters
    • Communicate current and future initiatives
    • Place in key employee traffic areas (HQ & field locations)
    • Work with (if applicable) your internal communications department or RIM vendors to produce/obtain the content
    • Use ARMA International as a resource for communication posters
    • Include RIM department contact information
  • Employee On-boarding
    • Work with the HR department to physically present (10-15 minutes) RIM related material during on-boarding sessions or provide documentation if you do not receive authorization to physically present
    • Include important RIM information such as the records management policy, the records retention schedule, what constitutes a records, RIM contact information, and where the information is located
  • Company departments
    • Some company departments send out periodic newsletters and have regular conference calls with their staff (HQ and field)
    • Work with the departments to schedule time to communicate RIM information
    • Work with the department leadership in advance to determine what RIM information may be relevant to their operations, including their current and future initiatives
    • Proactively reach out to departments (fact-finding) to determine if they have RIM-related needs. Determine what their pain-points are and help to address them
  • Events
    • Conduct a RIM event
    • Plan and prepare the message
    • Schedule time and space for the event
    • Make it fun
      • If your budget allows:
        • People like food, feed them
        • Get the intended message across
        • Provide RIM swag (company or vendor funded)
        • Provide a feedback mechanism – comments and questions
      • Intranet
        • Work with (if applicable) your internal corporate communications department to create brief, relevant PowerPoint presentations, videos addressing RIM awareness
        • For many organizations this is a more effective option than email for reaching employees
      • Never miss opportunities
        • RIM professionals should take advantage of all opportunities to create awareness
        • During meetings with departments, the RIM staff should always be cognizant of opportunities to educate and brief others on RIM-related matters

In my next blog post I will again address communication.  The blog will address how to effectively conduct employee training and training options. I hope this post was helpful.  As always, contact me if you have any questions or comments.

 

Sincerely,

Blake E. Richardson, CRM

recordsmanagementresource@gmail.com