5 Reasons to Take another Look at Your Document Retention Policies

Banker Resource
January 2, 2013 — 1,203 views  
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A record or document retention policy sets the ground for a systematic retention and review of documents that are created and received in a business. This policy will also detail how and when documents need to be destroyed.

Document retention policies play a significant role in organizations and should be reviewed regularly. Some of the reasons why you should review your document retention policy are discussed below.

Protection

A document retention policy is an integral part of any business because it will protect you during litigations and make sure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations is maintained. Having evidence of a consistently enforced and clearly recorded retention policy will be extremely helpful in the long run in case you ever need to convince the court that document destruction was a reasonable decision.

Legalities

Although it is vital to clear out your clutter, throwing away important papers or deleting the wrong email could result in some seriously destructive consequences. The absence of legal paperwork could make you lose a lawsuit that would have otherwise been won. In case the litigant asks for some document or record that you are unable to provide because you have destroyed it, the jury and judge may be allowed to draw conclusions that the particular document comprised information that could determine your position.

Concerns that need constant reviewing

It is vital to take a second look at your records review policies so that details of how and what type of documents need storage are up to date. While reviewing your policy there are certain principles that should be checked for proper balance.

To begin with, make sure the legal requirements for retaining documents are carefully considered. Take the local, state, and federal law into consideration. Once the document has lived out its useful life, consider the other purposes it could serve.

It is important that the records retention policy is well communicated to all members of the organization. If even one employee isn’t aware of the protocol, it could lead to the loss of important information. Placing the guidelines on your employee handbook would be a good idea as this way it can be accessed by all.

Your policy should clearly state what documents need to be retained, for how long, and in what manner. Any special considerations and exceptions should also be mentioned.

Consequences

Always think about the consequences of not having a document saved. This is not only in legal terms but also for the sake of your company and business. Old documents could be very helpful in forecasting and planning for new ventures in your business.

Other uses of the document

Documents and record of a business have various applications that can serve the public and community as long as they are not too confidential. For instance, they could be used in public libraries, in a database, or as an online resource. They are also of great help for research and academics.

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