The Psychology of Records Management: Energize Compliance with Technology

By: In: Information Management On: Dec 22, 2016
The Psychology of Records Management: Energize Compliance with Technology

This is the last of a 7 part series on energizing compliance. The last? I thought technology would be the first! Well maybe it didn’t need to be last, but it shouldn’t be the first. Technology is a great tool, but in and of itself, it does not address knowledge, understanding, discipline or attitudes that are key in implementation success. In fact, providing technology without knowledge, understanding, and discipline can actually do harm. Records may be inadvertently misclassified, misplaced, or deleted. Each of these creates an out of compliance situation, which requires extra resources to repair. Success is not guaranteed with the implementation and availability of technology.

I digress, but I recall when I got my first “Smartphone”. I got it just as I was leaving for vacation, and wasn’t able to receive any training/instructions. Unfortunately (like many of today’s products), the manufacturer must have assumed I had some prior working knowledge, would get help from a friend, or the Internet, as the instructions were not sufficient to enable me to operate the phone. I pushed the buttons, pressed the icons, double pressed icons, but couldn’t get the phone to function. I mean seriously, who would ever guess that you had to slide your finger across the screen of the phone to get it to work? Well, now that I’ve learned to “swipe” I’m good. Well actually, I’m more than good. I’m advantaged, because I have all the functionality of a smartphone available to me.

So too, users of new technology, and the company as a whole, will be advantaged with increased technology utilization. Information Governance (IG)/Records and Information Management (RIM) technologies have great potential to reduce errors, facilitate decisions (classification, retention, and disposal) and improve efficiency. The specific technologies to implement, and in what order, will be a unique company decision based on the current state of technology utilization, objectives, and priorities.

As mentioned last time, new technology is a type of “forcing function” that usually meets with minimal cultural pushback (See “The Psychology of Records Management: Energize Compliance with Forcing Functions“). People like technology that makes it easier to do their job with better results, and feel like they are working in a modern environment. This “good will” is a strong advantage toward successful implementation that you want to preserve and maintain throughout implementation.

How do you maintain that good will and implement technology with minimal pushback?

COMMUNICATIONS: Have a good communications plan that clearly tells the workforce what is expected and when (no surprises). Have a resource readily available to answer any and all questions.

TRAINING: Make training readily available, that takes the workforce form their present state of knowledge to being fully knowledgeable about their part in utilizing the technology. Allow for individuals with minimal computer familiarity/skills and no familiarity with the technology being implemented. Provide an opportunity for individuals to practice with the new technology in a location that does not jeopardize actual data/records. Make it your objective that individuals are not just knowledgeable about their utilization of the technology, but comfortable with it.

TIME: Allow plenty of time for each step in the implementation process. Keep in mind that individuals still have their regular daily work to do, and learn in different ways and at different paces. It is much better for the workforce to be well prepared and look forward with anticipation to the transition, than to be scrambling to complete their preparation and be dreading the transition.

Technology implementation offers great potential for bottom line results, and is well worth the effort to assure successful implementation. When done in concert with other initiatives suggested in this “Energizing Compliance” series, it can transform and institutionalize the entire Records Management / Information Governance business function.

(For further tips / thoughts on “People Issues” when implementing RIM/IG changes within your organization see the Rules of the Road for Cultural Change series written previously.)

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About the author

Craig Grimestad

Craig Grimestad is a Senior Consultant with Iron Mountain Consulting. His specialty is designing Records and Information Management core components with a sub-specialty for RIM auditing. He considers RIM implementations to be efficiency improvements. His passion is for the establishment of corporate Information Governance that extends from the Board Room to the desktop for all employees. Craig holds a Masters of Science degree in Engineering from The University of Illinois. Prior to joining the Iron Mountain Team in 2008, Craig was Records Manager for the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors where he participated in the development of the GM Corporate RIM program. He implemented and managed Electro-Motive Division’s RIM program. Craig is a recognized thought leader with a regular column and occasional feature articles in iQ magazine (the journal of RIM Professionals Australasia), featuring his blog series “The Psychology of Records Management”.