After the records and information policy is developed and approved, it needs to be communicated to your employees. There should be more than one announcement, or communication, to the employees and training may very well be needed if the policy is comprehensive.
The first step is to publish the policy widely using all of the communications methods available to the organization. These could include the following:
- Organizational newsletter. Not all organizations have these, but those that do often see them read by the majority of employees. These could be printed or electronic; the important point is that the policy or, at least, reference to it and its location should be published in the newsletter and perhaps should be published numerous times.
- Email blasts, posting to the intranet, posting to the portal, or posting to the organization blog or blogs. These are all variations on the theme of publishing the policy electronically. The nice thing about these is that the same content can be distributed quickly and easily through a variety of mechanisms, making it difficult for your employees to miss.
- Through meetings, workshops, or facilitated sessions. These group sessions might be conducted by the policy team, business unit leaders, senior management, or even an outside facilitator. The goal is to quickly disseminate the policy, while at the same time, soliciting feedback through discussion. The more questions that can be answered, the easier it will be to get compliance with your policy.
- Through one-on-one counseling. This is more often required for employees who are reluctant to embrace the new policy.
- And as part of the new employee orientation and in the employee manual. The easiest time to train your users on the policy is when they first join the organization because the new policy will be the only one they know.
Next, and perhaps, as part of the publication process, your organization must train users on the expectations for compliance with the policy. Senior management must show their support for the policy and reinforce the expectations that the policy is to be followed.
Users must be trained on HOW to comply with the policies and related procedures. They must understand exactly what is required and in what fashion it must be executed. This training should also be made available for review and delivered as a periodic refresher.
Your organization should make job aids and references available to the staff. These could include:
- The records management and/or email policy, itself
- Training materials
- Decision flows, where appropriate
- Samples, for example, of what the staff will see when they capture their electronic records.
Your organization must provide time for staff to come into compliance with the new requirements. An organization that has not had their staff drag and drop their files and emails into a structured repository cannot reasonably expect users to properly capture 100 percent of their content. The time period required to adjust will vary according to the size and complexity of the organization and the requirements of the policy, but it need not be lengthy.
Once you have implemented the policy, your organization will need to monitor for compliance with it. This could be done in a number of ways, including active system monitoring where applicable and legal, statistical sampling of records captured, or setting rules up to monitor, or block, certain types of content or attachments.
The organization should also solicit feedback about the policy, both positive and negative. This could be done through meetings or workshops, surveys, or anonymous suggestions. But often, the only way users will willingly volunteer feedback is when something goes wrong; better to ask before that happens.
You may need to provide refresher training as required. For a records and/or email policy, this might happen every year or when users change roles. And users should certainly receive training when procedures are updated.
Tell us about your experiences in implementing new policies?
Tell us about the ways of communication and training that worked for you and, perhaps, so that were not as useful?
Join us for an ERM Certificate course in:
- 05/11/10 - 05/14/10
- 06/22/10 - 06/25/10
Students who are Certified Records Managers (CRM) should apply for ICRM maintenance credits at a rate of 6.5 credits per classroom day!
Join us for an EMM Certificate course in:
- 05/04/10 - 05/07/10
We look forward to seeing you there!
Carl Weise – AIIM firstname.lastname@example.org