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Reasons to Update Your Document Retention Policy

When It’s Time to Change

Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, said, “Change before you have to.” It’s a simple yet powerful quote.

Things change and progress happens with or without us, and by being proactive, we have a better chance of remaining in control, being successful, and avoiding costly embarrassment. This is particularly true when it comes to keeping up to date with your document retention policy. For some businesses, the pandemic required making physical moves and changes, working from home, making the decision to continue working remotely, and all of the unexpected things that completely altered how you were managing records. Now is the time to review your record retention policies and practices so that you can be sure you are compliant with all state and federal requirements.

Recent Legal Changes and Additions

Data privacy laws change frequently. Ask yourself:

  • Is our business currently compliant with legal document retention requirements?
  • Have there been any updates or changes to the laws that should be reflected in our document retention policy?
  • Does your document retention policy spell out the retention periods for specific types of documents?

Ensuring that your policy is up to date will help you avoid premature document destruction and reduce your risk of a security breach due to keeping documents for too long.

Considering Transitioning to Digital?

For those who are now operating remotely, digital files provide a means to improve file sharing, paper consumption, storage, and a variety of other aspects of information sharing. Making these changes may be the catalyst for choosing to review and update your retention policy. Even if you are adhering to paper document retention dates, are your digital files receiving the same level of attention? Without a physical file to catch attention, your digital files may be neglected.

Prompt Change

The simple act of updating your retention policy may prompt you to:

  • Update or add retention dates to files.
  • Purge files and consider reorganizing to be more efficient and effective.
  • Review the policy and related procedures with your current staff.
    • Do all employees have a copy or access to a copy?
    • Does your new-employee onboarding process include document retention policy training?
  • Outsource your records management to a professional, local company that can help you protect your physical and digital information and manage record retention requirements, including secure shredding at the end of the information lifecycle.

Remember to change before you have to. Remaining proactive will reduce the likelihood of a failed audit, disorganized record management or costly mistakes with private information.

Records Management Center provides document retention management as part of our full suite of records and information management services. Businesses in Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, Aiken, SC, and the Central Savannah River Areas count on RMC for their document management. We’re ready to serve you, too! If you have questions or would like to discuss your unique needs with our friendly experts, simply call us at 706-724-7982 or complete the form on this page.