- Describe the kinds of items the organization acknowledges to be records.
- Describe what broader category of records the items belong to.
- Indicate where records are stored.
- Describe retention periods for records.
- Delineate who is responsible for managing the various kinds of records.
Identify kinds of records
It is beyond the scope of this article to provide more than general information about how to determine what is a record in your organization. Most likely, your enterprise is already doing some form of records management and has filled most of the records management roles that you need, and you might already have a taxonomy of records.
Generally, to determine what are records in your organization:
- Understand your enterprise's legal obligations and business needs.
- In a collaborative effort across the divisions of your organization, analyze how active documents are used.
- Develop a list of the kinds of documents that should become records. For example, you might determine that the following should be retained as records:
- Contracts to rent corporate space.
- Documents related to employees' benefits.
- Documents related to product research and development.
- Categorize the records. Records in the same category often have the same retention periods and might require similar treatment in other ways.
The following is a sample worksheet:
|Kind of record||Record category||Description|
|Benefit plans, insurance plans, pension plans||Employee Benefit Descriptions||Descriptions of all employee benefit plans.|
|Payroll timesheets, supplementary payroll information||Payroll Records||Summaries of hours worked, overtime, and salary paid.|
|Vendor invoices||Invoices||Records of goods or services purchased from vendors.|
|Product surveys, questionnaires, training manuals, training videos||Training Materials||Provides internal or external training.|
|Shipping forms, shipping reports||Shipping Records||Documents the shipment of materials.|
|Press releases, newspaper articles||Press Releases||Public relations information about products and services.|
|Emergency contact sheets, medical plan enrollment forms, resumes, benefits status reports||Personnel Records||Records of individuals' employment histories and related personnel actions.|
Complete the file plan
- How long each kind of record should be retained.
- How records should be disposed of when the retention period expires.
- Who is the primary records manager for records of this kind.
- What kind of media are records of this kind stored in.
|401k plans||Description of employee benefit plan.||Web pages||Employee Benefit Plans||X years||None||Kathi Flood|
|Insurance plans||Description of employee insurance plan.||Employee Benefit Plans||X years||None||Reshma Patel|
|Pension plans||Description of employee pension plan.||Employee Benefit Plans||X years||None||Reshma Patel|
|Payroll timesheets||Summaries of hours worked, overtime, and salaries paid.||Electronic documents||Payroll Records||X years||Destroy||Reshma Patel|
|Supplementary payroll information||Summaries of sick time, vacation time, and other non-salary payroll items.||Electronic documents||Payroll Records||X years||Destroy||Reshma Patel|
|Vendor invoices||Records of goods or services purchased from vendors.||Invoices||X years||Destroy||Eric Lang|
|Product surveys||Customer satisfaction survey.||Web pages||Survey Materials||X years||Archive||Molly Dempsey|
|Questionnaires||Questionnaire to determine customer demographics.||Survey Materials||X years||Archive||Molly Dempsey|
|Training manuals||Hard-copy training content.||Training Materials||X years||Destroy||Molly Dempsey|
|Training videos||Video training content.||Video||Training Materials||X years||Destroy||Molly Dempsey|
|Shipping forms||Configuration of materials shipments||Shipping Materials||X years||Destroy||Eric Lang|
|Shipping reports||Documentation of the shipment of materials.||Electronic spreadsheets||Shipping Materials||X years||Destroy||Eric Lang|
|Press releases||Releases about products and services.||Electronic documents||Public Relations Information||X years||Archive||Molly Dempsey|
|Newspaper articles||News about products and services.||Public Relations Information||X years||Archive||Molly Dempsey|
|Emergency contact sheets||Employee information.||Electronic documents||Personnel Records||X years||Destroy||Reshma Patel|
|Medical plan enrollment forms||Employees' sign-up forms for health plans.||Electronic documents||Personnel Records||X years||Destroy||Reshma Patel|
|Resumes||Resumes received.||Mixed||Personnel Records||X years||Destroy||Reshma Patel|
|The example earlier in this section is a sample. It is not a recommendation of any particular file plan settings. To reinforce that this is an example and not a recommendation of any records management policy, no retention periods are supplied.|