What is Retention Scheduling and How Does It Affect Compliance?

Wed, Jul 20, 2016
By: Jacob Gilmore
What is Retention Scheduling and How Does It Affect Compliance?

In many businesses, storing sensitive documents, and destroying them appropriately, is an essential aspect of the record management process. It’s important to know how long your documents need to be stored and when they need to be destroyed in order to remain compliant with federal regulations and industry standards.

It can be challenging to stay on schedule and keep a consistent process in place, especially in situations where new information is developing all the time.

That’s where retention scheduling comes in.

What is retention scheduling?

Retention scheduling has to do with proper record keeping and document management. Companies put retention schedules in place to ensure that current records are kept as long as legally required, and that outdated records are destroyed in an orderly, consistent fashion.

This helps companies identify how long certain documents must be retained within a company’s records, and when they must be disposed of. It’s like setting an alarm for the document lifecycle. Certain documents must be kept on record for a number of months or years, while others should be retained for the life of a predetermined contract.

How does retention scheduling affect compliance?

Many types of documents fall under special requirements in terms of how long they must be kept on file. Inconsistencies in this process can result in failure to comply, risking costly litigation, steep fines, and a lack of trust among clients.

On the other hand, adhering to a records retention schedule can help reduce the risk of keeping documents too long, losing track of information in a growing document database, or destroying information too soon. Implementing a schedule can keep a business organized and on track, holding documents for the required amount of time and disposing of them only when the time is right according to legal protocol.

How to implement an effective retention schedule

First, consider the types of documents you need to store, and what the legal regulations are. For example, certain vital documents like licenses or deeds or healthcare reports may never need to be destroyed, while records like financial reports or email correspondence can be kept for a set amount of time, until their purpose has been carried out, or until other regulations dictate.

Working with a reliable records management company can help you organize your paper and digital records into different groups in order to manage records by type, taking into account the legal and operational value of each group in order to identify the retention requirements for each. This will help identify vital or high-risk documents first, then move on to the nonessential or inactive records next.

Similarly, records management companies can help calculate proper destruction dates based on document lifecycles from creation date onwards. They can also help securely dispose of sensitive information with industrial shredding or hard-drive destruction.

Your records retention schedule is an essential aspect of your company’s record keeping playbook. There’s a lot at stake when it comes to proper storage and disposal, and managing the document lifecycle properly is critical to maintaining your company’s credibility and protecting yourself from litigation.

Gilmore Services can help you set an accurate schedule with notifications when certain items reach their predetermined retention limit. Our document storage and document destruction services follow strict guidelines to keep your business protected. Learn more about how Gilmore Services can help you stay compliant with retention scheduling.