Make Every Month Records Management Month

George Despres

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The challenges to information governance (IG) outreach and communication awareness are considerable. They require a relentless full-court press to drive your messages home. While most in our profession have acknowledged that we will not make records managers out of our fellow employees, communication of best practices and “do’s and don’ts” can mitigate risk and inefficiency within your enterprise.

When promoting your program consider your stakeholders’ calendars. Don’t go anywhere near procurement, for example, when the fiscal year-end is approaching. Steer clear of HR during layoffs or monitoring and evaluation. Ease off of facilities during major renovations, and back off from the C-suite before trustee meetings. Keep in mind that some verticals, like higher education, have the home stretch of spring semester, final exams and the approach of commencement in the middle of April.

With multiple audiences — ranging from administrators, legal, IT, operations, C-suite executives and, most importantly, the enterprise itself — you must tailor your messages specifically. Messages should frame your RIM program as a corporate responsibility and not as a set of niche activities and services. Meanwhile, work to distinguish broadcast efforts (e.g., brochures) from targeted outreach (e.g., new employee packets), and be especially opportunistic with the latter. In trade publications you’ll find a good supply of compelling statistics related to IG adoption, information risks and enterprise maturity, which allow you to “gamify” your firm’s success against that of other organizations.

Here are some approaches worth considering:

  • Poll existing clients and post positive feedback as testimonials.
  • Employ a running series of short features in a stakeholder newsletter.
  • Emphasize and vilify the impact of redundant, obsolete and trivial information.
  • Distribute an IG best practices quiz and publish results by department.
  • Employ the corporate color scheme.
  • Seize on “records in the news” stories featuring records mismanagement headlines — there are plenty of them.
  • And, of course, always emphasize IG’s return on investment.

Review your messages often. In his book “Originals,” Adam Grant emphasizes that many great creative ideas arise only years after the original thought has emerged and simmered. Ideas for communications should be an ongoing process. Promote, promote, promote. Make every month a Records Management Month.

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