In my last blog I addressed the importance of creating employee awareness for your RIM program and initiatives along with tips and recommendations. In this blog, I discuss employee training and options that will allow you to maximize your efforts.  As awareness of the RIM program and initiatives increases, it helps facilitate and obtain support for employee RIM training.

Employee training requires planning. There are multiple factors to consider:

  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Budget
  • Training Options
  • Curriculum
  • Records Management Coordinators (RMCs)
  • Timing
  • Duration
  • Communication

Purpose:

The first step to consider when planning employee training is, what is the purpose? The purpose of RIM training ranges from initial program training, including topics such as the RIM policy, and records retention schedule, new initiatives, and periodic refresher training. It is important to have a clear training purpose.

Audience:

Who is the training audience? The audience can range from senior management to new hires (on-boarding). The training program should be tailored to the intended audience. There is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach for most training.

Budget:

Once the RIM department has determined the training purpose and audience, it important to ensure that the budget supports the training. Depending on your company’s fiscal year and budget submission timeframe, the RIM department should determine the costs of any upcoming training and whether the costs will be part of the RIM budget or absorbed by each department’s individual budget. Later in this blog (“Communications” section) budget communication is discussed.

When budgeting for employee RIM training, you should consider the following:

  • Will travel be required (trainers & trainees)
    • Airfare/transportation
    • Lodging
    • Meals
    • Parking
  • If training is conducted locally
    • Will offsite meeting space be required
    • Meals
    • Employee mileage

Training Options:

As most of us and our organizations continue to deal with the impact of COVID-19, we may discover that in-person training is replaced with virtual training for the foreseeable future. Prior to the pandemic, in-person training remained the most effective method. However, this may not be an option. Technology such as MS-Team Meetings, Webex and Zoom have become the norm. Virtual meetings allow companies in today’s environment to reduce employee health risks, and expenses. In this blog, my intention was to go into detail about the pros/cons of training options.  However, at this point, to go into detail is premature.

Curriculum:

Based on your audience, tailor your training curriculum:

  • Senior management:
    • Typically, senior management training for RIM-related initiatives is reserved for comprehensive, company-wide rollouts of projects such as the implementation of a content management system that changes the manner in which employees work
    • Determine what senior management personnel should be involved
    • Trying to schedule training time with senior management is difficult, work with their respective Administrative Assistants to schedule the training event
    • The curriculum in this case usually provides the audience the following:
      • An overview
      • Benefits (cost savings, enhanced compliance/risk reduction, improved efficiency)
      • Major changes in current work processes
      • Timing of the initiative
      • Employee resources required
    • Limit training to no more than 30 minutes
    • Understand that some senior managers will delegate the attendance of the training session to one or more of their direct reports
    • The presentation/training should not be bogged down in procedural details. However, be prepared to provide details if asked
    • Allow time for questions
  • Mid-level management:
    • As you descend down the management chain, be prepared to provide more detail
    • Mid-level managers, in most cases, do not want procedural, screenshot steps
    • Keep training to no more than 30-minutes
    • Provide an overview and specific benefits
    • Let them know the impacts to their operation:
      • Which, or how many of their employees will be required to take the training
      • Duration of the training
      • Timing of the training
      • Expectations of their employees after the training
    • Allow time for questions
  • Frontline employees
    • Provide an overview and how the initiative and training will specifically benefit them in their daily operations
    • Provide specific, detailed instructional guidance, including screenshots and procedures
    • Let them know the RIM department is there to support them
    • Let them know who to contact in the event of questions and comments
  • New employees (on-boarding)
    • The RIM department should work with the appropriate HR staff to obtain authorization to present at on-boarding sessions
    • Time during on-boarding sessions is limited, training should be no more than 5-10 minutes
    • If you do not obtain authorization to physically present at new-hire orientation sessions, ask for authorization to provide a RIM informational packet to new employees
    • New employees during new-hire orientation are most likely being overwhelmed with company information – determine the most important RIM points to convey:
      • What is considered a record
      • Employee RIM responsibilities
      • Location to find RIM resources, e.g. RIM Intranet site, RIM department contact information

Records Management Coordinators (RMCs):

If the RIM department has established an RMC network, they can be a great asset for employee training. It allows the RIM department to train the RMCs, which can lessen the training burden on the RIM department. The purpose of the RMC network is to have knowledgeable RIM advocates dispersed throughout the organization who the RIM department is able to utilize for training of other employees.

Timing:

Timing is an important aspect to consider when scheduling training. The RIM department needs to consider factors such as the company’s (departmental) peak operational timeframes, month-end accounting closures, and department projects.  The RIM department should work with company leaders to determine the best time to conduct training.

Duration:

Duration of training sessions is a key factor in obtaining management support for your training efforts.  I have mentioned duration a couple of times in the “Curriculum” section of this blog. The objective of the RIM team should be to minimize the amount of time you remove an employee from their daily responsibilities in order to train them.  The goal is to be concise while effectively conveying the message. Later in this blog I will discuss options for training that minimize employee downtime.

 Communication:

Once the RIM department has received the authorization needed to conduct training, communication regarding the training is essential for maximizing support, cooperation and attendance. The communication phase of employee training should consist of the following:

  • Pre-training (department management)
    • Determine the optimal time in advance to contact department management about upcoming training
    • Allow sufficient time for department management to budget (if applicable) and provide budget guidance
    • Allow sufficient time for department management to submit questions and comments
    • Planned/potential date(s) of the training
    • Provide a brief overview, benefit, and objective of the training
    • Solicit information regarding potential timing constraints (as mentioned in the “Timing” section of this blog)
    • Provide information on how the RIM department plans to conduct the training (in-person/virtual)
    • If in-person training is planned, will employee travel be required or will training be conducted locally
    • Duration of the training
    • Employees required to attend the training
  • Training
    • Determine the optimal time to communicate the training to attendees
      • Optimal time to communicate can vary depending on whether trainees need to reserve travel
      • Send communication reminders to attendees
    • Provide required attendees with details regarding the training
      • Overview, benefits, and objectives
      • Location (in-person/virtual)
      • Duration
    • Provide attendees training evaluation forms that the RIM department can use to assess the training provided
  • Post-training
    • Provide a mechanism for attendees to provide questions and comments

Training is an essential factor for ensuring your RIM program success.  I hope you find this information helpful.  As always, please contact me if you have any comments or questions.

 

Sincerely,

Blake E. Richardson, CRM

recordsmanagementresource@gmail.com