How to Engage Employees in Records Management

Why Culture Matters

Culture, it’s been said, eats strategy for breakfast (or lunch, depending on whom you credit with that quote). Yet the evidence shows most executives don’t believe it. And that has major implications for business operations like records and information management.

While 84 percent of managers responding to a Deloitte survey said culture was a critical business success factor, they rated strategy much higher than clearly defined core values as a means of engaging the workforce (76 percent vs. 62 percent). In contrast, surveyed employees ranked them almost equally (57 percent vs. 55 percent).

Engaging employees is not the same as making them happy, writes best-selling author Kevin Kruse (Employee Engagement 2.0) for Forbes. He defines engagement as an employee’s level of emotional commitment to achieving the organization’s goals. The more engaged a worker is, Kruse says, the higher the level of productivity, quality and customer service he or she delivers.

So what’s the impact on records management? As the need for strong RIM practices escalates with the increasing volume of files to juggle — especially with legal or regulatory implications such as those in highly regulated industries — employees must be fully engaged in the process.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Make it real. The organization’s culture must be straightforward, understandable and consistently modeled — especially by senior executives. By witnessing good communication practices and leadership behavior, employees will begin to embrace the company’s core values and integrate them into their work.
  • Make it connect. A framed culture statement hung on the wall does not help workers understand its link to their daily activities. Communicate your records management policies, and explain how they tie into the organization’s core values and standards. Employees want to know their work is important to the business; this is a great place to start.
  • Make it strategic. The Deloitte survey found employees put culture and strategy on the same playing field. When workers see that proper RIM practices, even at the individual level, align with culture and advance strategic goals, what seems like a mundane task becomes more meaningful. Two ways to foster that understanding: reporting progress on file management goals, and regularly sharing relevant successes. Examples: urgent file quickly found, off-hours retrieval done well and potential compliance problem thwarted because employees were actively engaged.
  • Make it simple. Records retention schedules can be complex. A healthy balance of thorough management, clear education, and simple execution encourages compliance, empowers employees and reduces the business risks of mismanaged files. It also soothes resistance to any changes in “the way we’ve always done it.”
  • Make it fun. Adhering to retention schedules shouldn’t be treated like a root canal (painful to endure, dismissed when completed). Creating a fun and celebratory atmosphere around records management activities makes them more inviting. Ideas might include special themes, incentives, pep rallies, awards, and recognition.

From records management to every other function in your organization, culture and strategy shouldn’t be in competition at the business table. For best results, they should be lunch (or breakfast) partners.

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Abraxas models the educated, enthused and engaged culture that results in high-quality, strategic records management. We provide clients with tailored records and information management solutions, delivering the business intelligence that matters most — and we do it more efficiently and reliably than anyone else, particularly in highly regulated industries. To learn more, email solutions@abraxasworldwide.com or call us: 866.535.0016 (toll-free) or 269.226.0016.