With the growing need to manage information and knowledge correctly, best practices in information management are no longer key items for discussion among only records and information management (RIM) professionals.
Every employee now has the responsibility to understand and comply with the principles of record-keeping that allow the organization to adequately facilitate and sustain day-today operations, consistently remain compliant with applicable laws and regulations, and effectively understand what it has done in the past so it can make better choices for its future. Records are vital when these types of decisions are being made, but there is something that is even more critical the people that make them.
Employees are the most important factor in whether an organization succeeds or fails. The ability of any single employee to have an impact on an organization does not stop at decisions made by a C-level executive, but continues on down through the very fibers that make it up--the entry-level clerks, the front-line managers, and the full-time and part-time support staff.
Taking this into consideration, the question for many organizations has been how they can attract and maintain employees who are loyal and dedicated to the sustainability of not just their positions, but of the organization itself.
Employee Engagement Is Key
The answer for many has been to improve employee engagement. In the simplest of terms, employee engagement is the extent to which employees believe in the mission, purpose, and values of an organization and demonstrate that commitment through their actions toward and attitudes about their employer and customers.
An organization has high employee engagement when employees' statements, conversations, and decisions reflect a natural enthusiasm for the organization, co-workers, and its products or services. Intentionally instilling a "natural enthusiasm" in an employee may not seem like a natural process at all, but research has shown that if certain conditions are in place, employee engagement is not only possible, but highly profitable.
Ensuring employee engagement requires a total approach. Every aspect of an organization's processes and operations has to be supportive and have an encouraging effect. The starting point for any organization is to nail down the basics. The organization must have three things:
1. A high-quality product or service that employees can support with confidence
2. Adequate delivery systems that ensure commitments made to customers are easily met by employees
3. Solid policies and practices, including employee evaluation and recognition systems that are honest, straight-forward, and carried out with dignity
Arriving at this point can be difficult, but the challenge of success can be overcome easily when there is a strategic foundation on which to build.
Gain Leverage Using GARP[R]
In laying this foundation, organizations that have strong RIM programs have an advantage over those that don't because they are likely implementing the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles[R] (GARP[R]) released by ARMA International in February 2009.
These principles, which are based on years of un-codified records best practices, were created to assist organizations in implementing effective records systems and programs. Together, the eight GARP[R] principles-accountability, transparency, integrity, protection, compliance, availability, retention, and disposition--set a standard of conduct deemed to rep-sound information governance policy and practice. (See www.arma.org/garp to read the principles and their annotations.)
Use the GARP[R] Information Governance Maturity Model as a Framework
In 2010, ARMA International followed the release of with the GARP[R] Information Governance Maturity Model (Maturity Model). …