You now know and understand the importance, risk and benefits, of having a document retention policy for your business or organization. It is time to create a policy that is specific to your organization’s unique needs. Below are a few tips to help you create your retention policy.
Implement a Universal Retention Schedule
Each organization should have a retention policy that is universal for all their business units. This policy should include all units of an organization. In addition, your retention schedule should include a classification scheme ro categorize similar types of records into broader groupings that facilitate consistency and improve manageability for across the organization.
Document Retention Periods
Each listed retention period in a retention schedule should reflect the longer legal and operational value of the records contained within the schedule. In addition, each policy, either legal or operational, should include justification for the retention periods.
Schedule for Document Destruction
Having a system that is both simple and straightforward reduces the risk of inconsistency within a policy. A proper management system calculates the actual document retention rates in the policy and documents this to all personnel.
Review Policy Periodically
A document retention policy is considered a living document that needs periodic review for consistency and updating. It is recommended that a policy be reviewed approximately every 18 to 24 months. During a review, cross check your current policy with legal changes that may have occurred concerning document retention guidelines. Also, use a review to update the organization’s classification scheme to reflect any changes that have been made within the organization and their records.
A completed retention policy needs to be introduced to employees through training and fully integrated into an organization’s daily tasks. All the parameters of the retention schedule, along with the organization’s record management policy, need to be documented for employees and reviewed frequently among organization management and staff.
For more information about creating a retention policy for your organization, contact Information Requirements Clearinghouse for a consultation and to get started creating the right policy for your organization.
Don’t wait until you have to find documents and create a policy, act now!