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Building Up an Effective Policy for Record Retention

Aug 6th 2015 at 11:08 PM

A well-designed records retention and disposition schedule is important for businesses. Presence of dedicated information and records team, procedures, policies, and pinpointed team location is quite crucial. Everybody involved in the processes as well as the management must take time to gain in-depth education regarding key areas related to the program of record management. Sometimes help from third party consultants is desirable as this gets you on the way. So, how does this process begin? First, chart out the modus operandi where everybody related to the business will be involved.

•    Organizational research
•    Culture, history, and future
•    Associated laws
•    Business practices
•    Latest trends
•    Audit and design process
•    Compliance with retention policy

So what does this kind of policy signify? It refers to organizational system policy that dictates retention of information in organization, its duration, accessibility, and who are to access. Employee shuffles and changes are a constant issue with every company. So the information retention policy should take this into account in order to be viable. How will you determine the viability of a particular policy? Only those procedures and processes that have proven their worth through audit are effective. So you should make your choice of data retention policy template based upon this fact.

You should involve everybody within your organization in the process. This ensures employee training and compliance. So in case of legal hold or litigation everybody will have knowledge regarding the appropriate procedures. Also, it is important not to involve undue complexity in the policy development as it will limit its understanding. There are numerous benefits associated with this process.

•    Ensures legal compliance
•    Enables record accessibility
•    Provides organizational uniformity
•    Reduces cost

Some of the crucial topics to discuss during the policy development include consideration of associated legalities and various aspects of the company. It also involves discussion regarding storage of offsite vendors, filing, inventory, document lifecycle, responsibility, company procedures and policies. It mainly has three aspects.

1.    Initiation: this stage involves research, planning, and designation
2.    Foundation: writing of the research policy
3.    Process: implementation of policy, with audits and timely updates


During the initiation stage, everyone from the top levels to the bottom will become involved in the process with building of project teams. The team consists of consultants, IT, business users, and inside counsel. Management at senior level offers leadership directive with RM OR IT department allocating the resources. HR, finance and legal departments will deal with training, audits, and compliance respectively. Outside consultation is also quite welcome at this stage.

Foundation building involves building up of the retention schedule followed by policy creation and information regarding legal hold. Processes involve sorting of records, standardizations, cleanups, recognition, order maintenance, and audits. A communication plan in place all through this allows for continuous knowledge, support and education of everybody involved. Emergencies involving unexpected tax audits, resignations, and litigation are quite common. An effective record retention will help you to deal with such situations better.

Make use of the best document retention, policy template for your organization to begin the process today. Visit the websites such as Irch.com for more information.


About The Author

Sarah Jones is an expert on business data management and records maintenance who also likes to write many interesting articles and blogs, helping enterprises in coming up with the best business record retention schedule and document preservation guidelines. She recommends Irch.com as the best source of information on the subject.

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