HOW TO CREATE A SOUND AND ROBUST RECORDS RETENTION SCHEDULE?
What is RRS?
Records Retention Schedule (RRS) is a tool that describes the organization's records and tells us how long those records should be retained according to law, business, financial and audit requirements.Creating a Records Retention Schedule (RRS) is easy when you gather all necessary information.
Some cool tips you should know
Plan Your Records Inventory
Get a grasp of each and every department function of your organization and request a coordinator in each area to facilitate the RRS creation project. Build a team that consists of both records managers and coordinators with clear roles and responsibilities to plan ahead the records inventory and choose the best approach to be used.
Traditional Vs Functional Approaches
A typical, traditional records retention schedule can contain a listing of thousands of records and their associated retention periods. This type of RRS tends to be hard to use and difficult to maintain than the functional approach.
The Functional approach simplifies drastically the process of creating and maintaining your RRS.
The RRS document should include a listing of record classes, which are high-level functional categories into which record types are grouped and organized for clarity and ease of use, example Human Resources, Finance, etc.
Create Same Acronyms and Symbols
A Retention Schedule typically contains the following elements: Schedule title (i.e., Human Resources Records Retention Schedule), Record type, Retention Period, Event Trigger (EV), Personal Information or PI, Record Description and Notes.
Multiple departments may have their own terminology for Similar records. i.e., one department may call one type of record "annual employee contract reviews" while another department may call it " annual employee expense reports".
Consolidation of similar record series that have same event trigger and same retention period and distilling all duplicative language, will ensure that you have less fluff and same terminology across all departments.
Simplify Your Retention Schedule
Another way of simplifying your retention schedule, consists of collapsing your departments records and creating "consolidated functions". Instead of having multiple lines for the same records series, you can keep one for different departments all at once.
Example: So instead of having 3 or 4 functions containing records related to accounts payable and receivable. And have the same retention period (i.e., 7 years). You can have One consolidated function called: Accounting, Finance, Payroll and Tax.
Keep Record Series below 100
Record Series are units of files or documents, all with the same function, regardless of format.
Example: Correspondence record series will include emails sent, paper letters, internal memo...etc. While employment applications record series will include records such as application forms, letters of reference…etc.
The number of record series in a records retention schedule (RRS), varies for each organization. It is accepted as a best business practice to keep this number below 100, even for large and enterprise-level organizations.