Magazine article Information Management

Going Viral: Marketing Your RIM Program to Drive Culture Change

Magazine article Information Management

Going Viral: Marketing Your RIM Program to Drive Culture Change

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Even the most carefully developed records and information management (RIM) program cannot be effective if it does not have a high level of awareness among employees across the organization. Using a mixture of traditional and innovative marketing techniques can raise a RIM program's profile and the influence it needs to be successful.

Records and information management (RIM) professionals must not be tempted to declare "mission accomplished" once they have established these critical elements of a RIM program:

* A policy that spells out roles and responsibilities

* Retention schedules

* A data classification schema

* Procedural documents that help employees properly retain and dispose of information

* A legal hold mechanism

* Training on these elements

To declare the RIM program complete at this point would be premature. Philosopher George Berkeley's theory that only what is perceived actually exists--commonly expressed as "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"--should be applied to the RIM program: "Does a RIM program exist if there is no awareness about it across the organization?"

The answer is, "It may as well not exist because it is impossible for the RIM program to reach its primary goal of maintaining legal and regulatory compliance if the organization is not aware of it." It takes advocacy to raise the RIM program's profile, establish its value to the organization, and have the influence and ability to drive the culture change needed to accomplish its objectives.

That's why it's important to market RIM across the organization. There are many marketing techniques, both traditional and innovative, for driving awareness and achieving the culture change needed to sustain your RIM program. First, though, you must determine the current state of RIM program awareness so you will have a baseline for measuring success.

Establishing a Baseline

Prior to beginning a marketing campaign, you should capture the state of RIM within your organization's culture. While you may have your own observations on the state of the program, they may not be universally shared. Conducting a survey to capture a representative sample is a good way to gather others' observations.

The survey sample must include people from all levels of the organization--executives, middle management, and individual contributors from all corners of the organization. Ask simple questions that everyone will be able to answer easily, such as yes-no, multiple-choice, or rating/ scale. Here are sample questions you might include in the survey:

* Are you aware of our RIM policy and procedures?

* How often do you reference these documents?

* Do you follow the retention schedule when maintaining our information?

* Do you know if you are impacted by any legal holds?

* When did you last take RIM training?

* On a scale of 1-10, how effective is the RIM program at promoting its objectives?

This baseline will help you communicate the current state to leadership, obtain needed resources for your initiative, and measure progress as the campaign continues.

Using Traditional Awareness Methods

Using some tried-and-true awareness practices is a good way to start your campaign. The effectiveness of each may depend on the culture of the organization. While most of these are not enough to drive true culture change, they can at least help ensure compliance with legal and regulatory obligations.

Employee Portal

Establishing a space for your program on your employee portal is perhaps the first step you should take to drive awareness. A hub for your policy, procedures, retention schedule, training materials, and employee questions is an essential resource.

Work with your portal team to make sure your portal is consistent with the themes of other portals and is linked and easily accessible. …

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