Tapping the Core Competencies
Long gone are the days when records management fell under “Related Duties” in someone’s job description. The knowledge and expertise required for today’s records manager is extensive, from flawless application of complex legal and regulatory rules to robust business awareness and technological skills. All are vital attributes of the individual or vendor you look to hire.
The practice of records management arose during World War II, which saw a vast increase in documentation in the military and its support industries. By the 1950s, records management had assumed its place in the corporate world. More recently, the explosive growth of electronic records and the rise of strict new documentation laws, notably the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, have elevated the role to a crucial plane.
In that light, ARMA International, the association representing the records management industry, created a set of core competencies to establish a measuring stick that ensures professionalism and capability. This is especially helpful to organizations looking to hire RIM employees or assessing the skills of a vendor partner.
The core competencies fit into four levels:
- Level 1 – This is an entry-level category. Level 1 RIM personnel have the basic skills to learn and apply records management practices. They have a high-school or undergraduate education, not necessarily in the field. Fundamental skills include basic computer, writing, keyboarding, and capability to learn and follow directions.
- Level 2 – These individuals already possess a working knowledge of RIM practices, including information lifecycle management and related technologies. They have been involved in records management projects and are developing specialty skills such as auditing, warehousing, and analysis. These professionals will likely have an undergraduate degree in a related discipline. Fundamental skills include those at Level 1 plus data analysis, essential math (e.g., percentages, ratios, etc.), customer service and project management.
- Level 3 – Here you will find individuals who have broad experience in records management. They know the practices, keep up with new knowledge and technologies, and they have applied principles extensively in a variety of circumstances. They have staff management experience and likely possess an advanced degree or related certification. Fundamental skills include those at Levels 1-2 plus the ability to implement a RIM system, solve problems, budget, chart/graph data, and develop presentations.
- Level 4 – This is the executive level. Practitioners who reach this stage make significant decisions on RIM function and on the organization as a whole. They develop broad-reaching strategy, work with executive leadership and provide oversight. Level 4 practitioners typically have advanced degrees, appropriate certifications and are involved in continuing education. Fundamental skills include those at Levels 1-3 plus an ability to conduct research and assess results, evaluate complex data, understand and use professional terminology and techniques, develop/propose/advocate/implement RIM strategy, and successfully network with business peers.
Also, each of the levels encompasses domains such as risk management, communication, information technology, business functions, leadership and RIM practices. Proficiency in these domains is higher at each level.
While many other elements go into selecting the right RIM professional or vendor partner, these competencies provide an important starting point to help you make the right choice.
# # #
Abraxas team members possess the highest proficiencies at every level of records management competencies. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call us: 866.535.0016 (toll-free) or 269.226.0016.