Here are five issues that you will encounter with dealing with both teenagers and record management. These five records management problems come from observations that are firsthand experiences from client engagements across multiple industries, as well as from raising teenagers, and from actually being an ex-teenager.
- “Clean up your mess before I have to do it.”
Basic retention management (not necessarily full-blown records management) is a lot like having to clean your teenager’s room. The teenager had ample opportunity to do it themselves, but failed or neglected to do so. Your employees also have old, irrelevant, and often contradictory documents lying around, and have neglected to clean them out. This can cause records management problems down the road.
By scheduling the elimination of old, outdated content, the records manager is essentially acting as the parent with the broom and dustpan.
2. “Be in this house before your curfew, or else.”
No teenager likes to be told when they have to come home. However, if they are out past their curfew, usually it’s a recipe for disaster.
If you company records are not disposed in a timely fashion per legal mandates, it’s like they missed THEIR curfew. Having such records in the house after their time is up also is a recipe for a legal disaster.
During post-mortem type follow ups, it’s often observed that a customer has records that need to be processed due to disposition rules being triggered, but the customer has failed to actually process the items. A teenager could be simply grounded for missing curfew; your company’s punishment may be more severe. Simple steps can eliminate future records management problems.
3. “You live in my house, you must follow my rules.”
Teenagers typically hate the rules set forth by their parents. Teenagers consider their lives to be their own business, where a parent shouldn’t infringe.
Employees often think that they are the owners of content, and can control who has access to it, and the company should not infringe. This opinion is not true, the company owns it if created on company time and utilized company resources in such creation. Company rules must apply to who keeps what, who sees what, how such items are retained, and so forth to avoid records management problems. It’s the company that will go to court if legal issues arise when the “rules of the house” are not followed.
4. “All my friends are doing it.”
No two companies are the same. Even if the companies perform near identical work, record keeping requirement rules can be substantially different between states and localities where your “friends” live. (Besides, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it?)
5. “I forgot.”
It’s amusing to see what a teenager “remembers” and what a teenager “forgets”. Your employees “forget” from time to time, or are simply preoccupied with other, meaning “more interesting”, tasks.
Applying consistent record and retention policies removes the “I forgot” excuse for not disposing of old content and out of date records and prevents records management problems.
The five records management problems above illustrate raising teenagers and records management both are indeed similar. They both seem to be thankless jobs in the moment, but when looking back in retrospect, both can be considered successful if consistent (and persistent) strategies are first deployed and then followed.
If you have questions about records management, please contact us today:
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