3. Know the Rules
Retention policies go beyond saving space, keeping organized and improving efficiency. Maintaining compliance with federal, state and local regulations requires top priority.
An institution carries the burden of responsibility for knowing and complying with retention and destruction regulations that affect the industry. Continued reliance on paper-based records can carry different issues, making compliance with privacy mandates more difficult, for example.
Leadership support is key to ensuring that resources are available to not only help establish retention and disposition schedules that are compliant but stay on top of changes in regulations.
4. Review and Adjust
Anytime governmental regulations are involved in developing a policy, change is inevitable–at least plan for it to be. As the world of information and data becomes more complex, requirements for how to manage it will no doubt follow suit. A policy needs to include provisions for review to ensure it stays up-to-date with regulations and changes in retention periods. It also should be responsive to changes within the institution. The most effective and efficient way to do that is with a comprehensive plan to work from.
5. Stick with It
A retention policy and schedule provides a one-source knowledge repository for everyone involved in managing an institution’s content through its lifecycle. Well-trained staff will not only understand the benefits (as well as the requirements) of a detailed policy, but they will also have the rules and guidelines needed to implement the policy and schedules. Policy and schedule compliance reduces inconsistencies in retention and destruction decisions, and the likelihood of human error. Electronic content management and business process automation reduces those risks even further by automating the process, along with establishing an audit trail and good faith effort toward compliance.