Are You Hiring a Records Manager?

By Richard Medina posted 03-20-2013 11:13

  

When organizations ask us to help them find a Records Manager, we start by providing them with a set of qualifications the candidate should have. We also suggest questions for them to ask the candidates. These organizations are typically implementing ECM and RM on an enterprise level and need someone to manage an enterprise program.

This post suggests some of the questions you should ask your candidates. In larger organizations with more developed RM programs, these qualifications pertain to the RM Director role.

First, please understand that managing RM technology – or managing paper records management, or maintaining a records plan – is only a small part of a Record Manager’s role. It’s mostly about protecting your organization through programs and policies that encourage and enable compliance and security, representing the organization during legal events, and communicating the mission of the program and socializing its importance.

The companies that are most successful at RM do it with a program that addresses overall RM strategy, governance, information organization, technology, processes, and change management. Usually the Records Manager or RM Director is part of a team that oversees (or at least advises regarding) the company’s ECM and RM activities. Your firm may not implement a comprehensive RM Program with a Records Manager/Director-plus-Team governance structure in the near or mid-future, but we think it would be wise to hire someone with the ability to help develop and participate in such a program.

What Questions Should You Ask the Candidate?

 Here are some of the most relevant questions to ask the candidate:

  1. Our firm’s RM Program will be cross-functional, involving Records (of course), Legal, IT, and the business. Can you develop, own, and coordinate the cross-functional information and records management program? (Or help do so? How have you done it in the past? How would you do it at your firm? )
  2. Our firm obviously needs a record plan that addresses all records, paper and electronic. Can you develop and maintain the organization’s record plan and retention schedule? How would you address the ESI on hard drives, shared drives, in email, in social media tools? They are relevant to discovery; are they records or non-records? How would you address them?
  3. Can you develop and maintain the records management-related policies, procedures, and guidelines for users?
  4. Can you develop and maintain the organization’s ESI inventory? (This is the “data map” showing where the actual ESI at your firm is stored in various systems.) It’s relevant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), to good discovery strategy for each litigation case, and for proactive strategy for ECM and RM.
  5. Can you develop and implement a process for regular monitoring and inspection of business and user adherence to the RM program requirements? How do you recommend addressing the political and change management issues that typically arise with such initiatives?
  6. Can you work with IT to ensure that our systems can accommodate our RM requirements? Can you ensure that our ECM tools are leveraged to control and automate RM? (Note that this really entails going more slowly and more carefully than the vendors want, and it requires knowing enough about the technologies to know what they can realistically do, what is/is not cost-effective to implement, and what should be avoided – even if the vendors are pushing it.)
  7. Can you work with the Records Coordinators, who are (or will be) located in the business units, to ensure effective communication of program requirements to users?
  8. Can you work with Legal, IT, and Records Coordinators to define and document our firm’s e-discovery process?

What Qualifications Should The Candidate Have?

Here are some of the most important responsibilities of a Records Manager (or Director in larger organizations with more developed RM programs):

  1. Develop and maintain your firm’s record plan and retention schedule
  2. Develop and maintain the RM-related policies, procedures, and guidelines for users
  3. Develop and maintain your firm’s inventory of electronically stored information (ESI)
  4. Define and operationalize the process for regular monitoring and inspection of business/user adherence to the information and RM program requirements
  5. Work with IT to ensure that current and planned systems can accommodate any legal or RM requirements, and to ensure that ECM tools are fully leveraged to control and automate RM to the appropriate degree
  6. Work with the Records Coordinators to ensure effective communication of program requirements to users
  7. Understand, communicate, and track the procedures used to create, manage, and preserve specific types of ESI, as documented in your firm’s Record Schedule
  8. Comply with policies for information and records lifecycle management, including declaration, classification, management, security and access
  9. Work with Legal, IT, and Records Coordinators to define and document your firm’s e-discovery process
  10. Assist relevant Legal and IT teams as needed in discovery event activities (e.g. respond to query with confirmation that relevant ESI continues to be maintained)
  11. Assist the business units and their custodians as needed in discovery event activities
  12. Assist Legal and IT teams in fulfilling holds and releases
  13. Assist Legal, IT, and RM Teams in relevant phases of discovery

 



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