Up-Skill Your Staff With These 4 Records Management Training Best Practices

How to improve your workers’ records management skills

Records management may not be an obvious source of efficiency gains, but when one considers the amount of time workers spend filing, retrieving, or sharing records across the business, the opportunities become clear. The better each worker understands records management best practices, the more quickly and effectively they can execute them.

That’s where records management training enters the picture. Through effective instruction, your workers can gain autonomy and efficiency even as they better safeguard your business and its customers against lapses in compliance.

Our ultimate guide covers the benefits of records management, how to develop processes for your organization, and services that can help. Learn more here.

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Benefits of records management training

Robust records management training forms a foundation upon which the mastery of work processes can be built. Workers equipped with a deep understanding of a business’ records management system can more quickly store, retrieve, share, and replace records, thus carrying out their duties more efficiently. They are less likely to incorrectly file or tag records, and are more capable of adding relevant meta tags to make retrieval easier in the future no matter who is searching. That means fewer lost files and less time looking for incorrectly labeled ones. They also tend to need less assistance from other members of the team, minimizing work bottlenecks.

In addition to making individual employees more efficient, a records management training program provides infrastructure through which a business can disseminate changes in policy when regulations or other compliance standards shift. As a result, management can quickly and effectively pivot workflows and stay in compliance.

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Some essential skills for records managers

Some of the most beneficial skills records managers can master include information management, compliance knowledge, subject matter knowledge, and communication skills.

Information management refers to the tools and techniques used to keep records organized and safe. It can include knowledge of records management best practices and strategies such as those recommended by the International Standards Organization (ISO), security tools such as user access controls, and other important record-keeping information. It can be improved through courses on and studying of records management standards and governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) tools.

Those tools also make it easier for records managers to keep your business in compliance with regulations and other essential standards, but they can’t solve the problem completely. A records manager must have their own deep knowledge of the relevant compliance standards to ensure tools are correctly calibrated and used intelligently. That will empower them and other workers who interface with records to keep the business safe from fines and other penalties. Reviewing compliance standards to stay up to date and taking the occasional refresher quiz can improve skills in this area.

Subject matter knowledge — or a meaningful understanding of the business or industry — makes it easier for a records manager to establish, maintain, and improve a record-keeping system through tools such as meta-tagging because they better understand what’s important to their coworkers. That means potentially increasing productivity for everyone involved. Record managers can cultivate this knowledge through cross-departmental workshops and guided or independent research.

Communication is the glue that holds these skills together, allowing a records manager to understand what coworkers need and relay it to them efficiently. It can be improved through active listening, writing workshops, and soliciting feedback from coworkers regarding clarity of communication.

Some best practices for records management training

Lock down fundamentals

One of the first steps in developing an effective records management training program is to identify the overall goals, roles, and responsibilities of your records managers. If employees understand why records are stored as they are, the role they play in that system, and the bounds of their responsibilities, they can work more effectively. When the guiding logic is clear, employees are able to become more efficient at storage, retrieval, and destruction of records, spending less time shuffling through physical or digital storage spaces and more time producing value.

Develop compliance culture

Instructing employees on compliance standards is important, but receiving instruction doesn’t always directly translate into second-nature execution. By weaving compliance into the culture — highlighting it at every step of the records management process — you can encourage everyone on the team to make compliance a habit. Explain the penalties for failed compliance, while emphasizing the benefits of remaining compliant. A thorough understanding of the risks of non-compliance helps employees internalize the rules more quickly and completely.

Create a shared vocabulary

Clear communication requires a shared set of mutually understood terms. Without it, team members can flounder trying to understand vocabulary they don’t recognize or mix up two related terms used imprecisely. Using a highly regarded standard such as ISO 15489 as a baseline for vocabulary promotes common understanding among employees, ensuring clearer communication, easier information retrieval, and closer alignment on storage practices.

Incorporate interactive elements

Every employee learns in different ways, but few methods teach as quickly or effectively as practice. By having employees store sample records, apply relevant meta tags for retrieval, and schedule out document lifecycles, you can evaluate their skill gaps and apply remediation before they cause an inadvertent compliance lapse or lose a file.

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