7-step employee training guide for record retention awareness

What do a video production studio in L.A., a law firm in San Francisco, and purchasing departments for schools through the state have in common? They all have record retention policies that need to be followed by their employees.

It’s time to put your retention schedule to work. You may not realize this yet, but giving your employees ownership and accountability over the business’s retention schedule is key to your success. Without employee awareness of the retention schedule for documents, a retention policy isn’t much good to anyone.

“Policies and procedures should be in place and employers should remind staff,” said Kitt Letcher, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma. Letcher is concerned about cyber security breaches, but the same goes for paper files that contain sensitive information as well.

Here, some basic steps to get you started on record retention awareness.

1. Keep the schedule easy to access.

Consider posting your retention schedule to the in-house intranet and make sure it’s promoted—big time. “If you make it public, every employee knows how long we keep these files,” said Helen Streck, partner at Kaizen Infosource, and an expert on retention policy writing, training, and process.

2. Include the retention policy in new hire training.

Emphasize to new hires that controlling, documenting, and destroying data is a key part to document organization and security. Each person needs to play a part.

3. Pick a team leader for each department.

There is no set rule here, especially for small organizations, where one person may juggle multiple roles. The key is to have a clear schedule, and then follow through. “Every organization should have a program,” said Streck. “But each organization will differ on who is managing it.”

4. Schedule company time for a clean-up day.

This can become a regular event to audit and organize or purge files. Put on some good tunes and keep it fun! Remember, employee buy-in is key, which starts with executives and managers setting the example.

5. Make time for periodic training.

Top of mind keeps everyone on the same page. If the record retention program is logical, like organizing data around the principles of the Dewey system, and grouping files by topic, it should be easy for everyone to get on board to organize both digital and paper records. The upside: You’ll never again have to waste time searching for an old file having no idea where it’s stored–it will be at your fingertips.

6. Send out regular automated email reminders.

Out of sight is out of mind, and this is a losing battle when it comes to staying on top of your data. Reminders for employees about the retention policies are a must to ensure employees are doing their part.

7. Partner with a pro like Corodata.

An outside expert can help you store and destroy your documents according to your retention schedule. In fact, Corodata can even scan your paper documents and make them available to you online, a convenient and space-saving option.