Creating a sophisticated records management program involves collaboration and communication. It requires a strong leader and thoughtful records management recruitment. An effective records manager can help an organization go from functional to flourishing.
I asked John Wilson, Managing Director of JMW Mosaic, about his advice and insight for those interested in the records management industry.
I asked how recent graduates should present themselves as competent records managers. Wilson, who lives in the United Kingdom, recommended joining the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS), a British organization. He also suggested that recent graduates participate in training courses. He himself offers a training through compliance services company PDP, and he suggested researching other training courses that provide practical guidance.
Wilson also emphasized that recent graduates need to get involved in the industry one way or another — whether that means speaking at a meeting or volunteering with a local group. Records management recruitment can happen in any number of ways, so it’s important to keep the door open.
What qualities do companies look for in employees interested in records and information management (RIM)?
According to Wilson, companies are increasingly looking for relevant qualifications and practical experience, such as volunteering with local RIM organizations. “Records management is all about persuading people to do things that are good for the company, but not necessarily things they want to do ‘in addition to their day jobs,'” he said. “This can be a challenge for younger, less experienced records managers.”
Wilson recommended that recent graduates get involved in responsibilities not normally thought of as records managers’ roles and make contacts across the organization to build credibility and respect with colleagues.
I asked Wilson what skills have helped him find success in the role. “Communication, communication, communication,” he said. In order to be successful, records managers should build a profile and reputation for understanding the business and delivering the benefits of compliance with RIM policies. Communicate the goal in general business terms, not jargon only understood by records managers. It’s important for a RIM program to work across an organization, not just in its own isolated department.
Wilson said the best training courses he’s ever had working for a large corporate organization focused on negotiation skills and facilitation training. “These helped me to get involved in projects that would have been outside my comfort zone before,” he said.
Finally, what makes RIM an exciting field?
“I think that it is a combination of doing something that can make a real difference and that moment when someone senior in the organization ‘gets it’ and begins to understand what it is RIM is trying to achieve for the organization, and that it is not just bureaucracy and red tape,” Wilson said.
He also said he enjoys the fact that creating and managing records is always changing — from paper to digital, in-house to outsourced, dealing with the web and social media, the cloud, and so on. Even though the intricacies of the business continue to evolve, however, the objective remains constant: “managing our records as a resource and being able to take advantage of what we know.”