Do you teach your staff to file?

I know the title of this blog sounds like an obvious question and it may be a basic one. However, I have not found a way to research it because it is so basic. We almost take it for granted.


We merged 8 Councils into 1 council three years ago. The overall change has been successful.  As a change management exercise, it has been fascinating to experience and observe.  You learn more by doing these than a textbook can tell you.  However, my question is focused on records management.


From a records management perspective, the change revealed different ways of working. What we realize in theory (everyone has a different culture and that leads to different practices) we saw in practice (everyone does the same task differently). At the same time, it revealed a generational issue relating to ICT and records management. Staff who had experience with consistent and agreed filing systems maintained them.  Staff who had less (or no experience with filing systems) but used PCs more frequently, were less likely to use a consistent and agreed filing system.


What became clear was that filing is often taken for granted.  In the same way, we take it for granted that everyone knows how to use a computer in the same way.


What I wanted to know was whether (and how) people in your organisation are taught to create, name, and file documents.

Do you use technology to constrain the service users’ choices in creating a document? That is a software package that limits how any document can be created and maintained within the system.

Do you have general guidelines to instruct staff and let each service or section develop their service or section specific systems?

Do you just let them do what they want in the way they want and just try to develop better search systems?


I would be interested in how this is rolled out in your organisation. Is it part of the induction programme? Is it just something that is done ad hoc by the manager or team leader?


Here are some references that proved interesting as they addressed the file naming issues.



I would be interested to know what you do on this basic question. Is it something that is no longer considered?

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