We live in a world full of rules, and Information Management programs are certainly full of them. Having the rules is key, but without adoption, they’re meaningless. If you can’t ensure users are complying with governance standards, you effectively have none.
Let’s assume you have a robust suite of governance documents, including a record retention schedule – your information management “rules.” You have documents that lay out overall policy positions, provide direction on responsibilities and accountability, and even give guidance and set standards for how to execute program requirements. Now, those rules must be made real for the organization.
I’m not suggesting that Information Management is rocket science, but it has a lot of interrelated moving parts that touch all areas of your business. And, rolling out a comprehensive program will take understanding by the entire organization, and planning by the Information Management team, to be truly successful.
Planning is key! Your program’s master plan (or strategic plan) should clearly define what the program will look like and how it will be rolled out. There are some critical considerations when designing your plan and your program.
First and foremost, ensure that your executives (the C-suite) are on board by prepping them with a strong Information Management 101 presentation (strong doesn’t have to mean long). Give them the knowledge about ‘why’ an Information Management program is important (cover issues like risk mitigation, regulatory compliance, and defensibility) and then show them the basic requirements (cover processes like creation, storage, retention, and disposition). Be practical with them, acknowledge that this takes a certain investment of time by all staff (for training particularly) and, at the same time, reassure them that their support and your planning will minimize operational disruptions.
The second most important consideration is change management. You’re going to impact the way people handle records and information every day. Communication to all levels of staff about this impact is important. Not only do you have to train the staff, you must educate them about why the integration of Information Management processes is essential. Present the program with a clear understanding of what each audience will want to know. Remember that change scares a lot of people, so develop your communications to identify the upcoming changes and demonstrate how any challenges will be overcome. Be creative but also try to keep it simple.
As mentioned above, training will play an essential role in your implementation. After change management, this is the next vital component of rolling out an Information Management program. For online training, keep the sessions short (3 to 5 minutes, if possible) and break them down into components that align with your program execution. Include both technical ‘how to’ sessions and compliance sessions where the staff can acknowledge that they have reviewed the policy (through the online session) and will comply with the requirements. As much as possible, provide in-person training sessions, or at least interactive live webinars. There’s nothing quite like being able to ask a live person questions during a learning session and get instant feedback. Don’t be afraid to make it fun.
You’ve got your buy-in, you’ve built and executed an effective communication plan, and you’ve delivered some awesome training… now it’s time to roll out the program requirements (in phases). Remember to constantly inform those impacted about what steps are taking place and allow them unrestricted access to ask questions and get the technical help they need. It’s important to also follow up, hold wrap-up sessions and get feedback on how the implementation went and what the staff would like for ongoing support.
Finally, close the loop with the C-suite and share your learning from the implementation follow ups. Advise them on how the learning has impacted next phase roll out plans, as well as long-term program support services. Provide follow up training to staff and conduct departmental compliance reviews to demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement for the program and the organization.
For more on how you can drive digital transformation in your organization with proper planning, check out this recorded webinar: The Evolution of RIM Silos to Enterprise IG