Login to MyACC
ACC Members

Not a Member?

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

Join ACC


When preparing to hire someone to fill a records management role in your organization, many factors must be taken into consideration. It is important to figure out what you need: are you filling a role in your Records Management (RM) team or are you filling an Information Governance (IG) role? This understanding is critical as these roles require different skill sets. To be successful, you need to make sure you hire someone with the appropriate skill set.

Program Focus: Records Management or Information Governance?

First, be clear as to what you are trying to accomplish. Is your focus just records management or are you looking to build or improve a more evolved Information Governance team? Traditionally, since records management was more paper centric, it often has a narrower focus in the types of information and depth of responsibilities. Information Governance has a broader focus and includes records management and other areas, such as privacy, security, and compliance.

Core Skills

Someone fulfilling a records management role must understand what records you have and where they reside across the enterprise, legal and regulatory requirements and be able to drive compliance based on the company's records management policy. They must also understand related records management procedures, including your retention schedule and manage retention and disposition of company information accordingly.

In contrast, fulfilling an Information Governance role requires four key skill sets: records management, knowledge of technology, eDiscovery and organizational awareness. Although it is not necessary to find all of those in one person, it is necessary to understand the skills you need before you can determine the best way to staff a position (perhaps to augment existing staff).

Someone fulfilling an Information Governance role must have a good foundation in records management as well as other skills since they will act as an ambassador for the Information Governance program across multiple functions. In-depth understanding of technology and applications is a must, especially when managing email and other unstructured data repositories. Additional skills include understanding privacy information and classification requirements. Also, from a discovery standpoint, they must understand where all information is stored to facilitate retrieval when needed in support of legal requirements.

Level of Hires

From a hierarchical perspective, there are typically four (4) different role levels. Starting at the top, they are:

  • Information Governance Steering Committee: Comprised of senior level people, with cross-functional capabilities, who can drive the program though the organization Information Governance Manager: Acts as the functional head of the IG Program, typically reporting to either Legal, Compliance or IT Information Governance Leads: Should be strategically placed based on the matrix structure selected Records Coordinators: These are the people who actually implement the program. They are the "feet on the ground" executing and facilitating required program activities.

When staffing each level, it is not always necessary to start from scratch. Keep in mind that there may already be a matrix organization in place that can be leveraged. For example, if you have a Privacy and Security Steering Committee already in place, it may be possible to add Information Governance to it.

Ultimately, the size, scope and breadth of what you need will vary based on your organization and litigation profile.

Defining the Role: Builder vs. Maintainer

When looking at building a new Information Governance organization or updating/modifying your existing team, it is helpful to understand the different skill sets needed and how the various roles are going to fit in your organization. Hiring the correct skill set will make a difference in the success of your program. Some characteristics to look for when determining your needs include:

  • Program Builder: This type of person likes challenges and creating new programs. Builders do not shy away from taking on difficult tasks or internal politics. They are happy to be on the "cutting edge." However, once your program is developed and rolled out, these individuals can easily become bored and will often want to move on to the next new thing. Program Maintainer: This type of person prefers managing and maintaining an existing program on an ongoing basis. They are content to make incremental changes, have the ability to focus on the details and stay with a task over a longer duration - but may not have the skill set to build a program from the ground up.

Whether you need a builder or a maintainer, do not overlook potential internal candidates. You may already have someone on staff who can be trained with new skills to augment existing staff. If not, you may need to hire someone new who has the skill sets you need.

Defining the Role: Full-Time or Part-Time

In today's economic environment, it can be difficult to justify hiring a full-time position. So how do you determine and justify additional staff for the role(s) you need? Be smart about how you approach and construct it based on your needs, your budget and organizational culture.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Large, multi-national or highly regulated organizations will require a full-time program manager to support the organization. In small and medium-sized organizations that cannot justify a full-time position, the role can often be divided into several part-time roles. If you have in-house people with expertise in privacy, legal or security, it may be appropriate to divide up those responsibilities on a part-time basis. Look at what skill sets you already have and what skill sets you need to determine the best way to fulfill your staffing requirements. There is no one size fits all.

5 Key Skills and Industry Certifications and Conferences

The table below provides a list of essential skills relevant to Information Governance professionals. In addition these skills, determine which certifications may be important for the position. Some certifications are more valuable than others, and some are nice to have but not always a requirement. For example, in records management, the CRM (Certified Records Manager) from the Institute of Certified Records Managers ( demonstrates that the person has a strong foundation of core skills and competencies. In contrast, the IGP (Information Governance Professional) from ARMA International ( demonstrates that the person has the skills to leverage information for maximum value to the organization. There are also certifications to consider pertaining to eDiscovery (, technology ( and compliance/privacy (

When recruiting, keep in mind that many potential candidates are going to be looking for positions that will provide them growth opportunities. If the certification is a "nice to have" requirement, it can be helpful to offer an employee or potential new candidate the opportunity to grow over the years and achieve new skills. Providing the resources needed to attain the desired certification is one way to ensure you hire the right person.

Job Descriptions

Prior to recruiting, it is important to have written job descriptions for each role. Work with your internal HR staffing representative to create and tailor job descriptions. Job descriptions should include, at a minimum, the job title, responsibilities, essential job duties, minimum experience requirements and minimum educational requirements. Please see Appendix A for sample job descriptions for the following roles:

  • Information Governance Director Information Governance Manager/Records Manager Records Coordinator

Sources for Finding and Recruiting Information Governance/Records Management Professionals

After determining staffing roles and requirements, there are several avenues to explore in recruiting external candidates. Professional staffing organizations that specialize in records management can help you find and recruit the proper candidates. Other commonly used resources include job boards at professional societies (such as ACC, AIIM, ARMA and IAPP), referrals, and networking. Job boards and industry-specific headhunters are also options to consider.

Don't forget to consider internal candidates in your search. Look for someone in your organization who understands how to get things done and has established relationships with key stakeholders. In addition, look for internal resources with expertise in specific areas, such as privacy, security or IT. Strong internal candidates can be trained in records management skills and help reduce the time it takes to implement your program.


Once the new staff is hired, make sure they have the tools and training needed to be successful. Develop a structured training program to cover areas identified for Information Governance.

When planning training, take into consideration whether you have hired a maintainer or a builder. Maintainers tend to already have some of the basic records management skills needed. On the other hand, the training plan for a Builder may be more extensive to develop the necessary foundation.

There are numerous training options for people to increase their knowledge and grow their skill sets. There are professional certification training courses, pre-conference training sessions, numerous educational sessions at conferences, educational events at local chapters of professional societies and online recorded webinars. For example, ARMA International has annual conferences ( as well as regular, local meetings held by regional chapters. Another example is AIIM, which also has a variety of educational events ( Another option may be having the new hire "shadow" someone who has previously done the work. By shadowing an experienced resource, the new hire gains knowledge and can leverage any previous experience.

Program Plan: Roadmap and Work Plans

One of the first tasks in developing your program will be creating a list of projects and priorities.

A good roadmap will include projects, tasks and resources over a two to three-year timeframe. Many projects may involve different areas within the organization. Be sure to evaluate which projects will have the greatest impact to the organization and look for short term quick wins. Quick wins will demonstrate the benefits of the program and help build momentum (and secure budget) for future projects.

To help jump start a new program, a 6-month work plan should be developed that outlines goals and objectives. This plan may include learning the organizational structure, building relationships, developing metrics, completing a baseline assessment, creating and delivering training programs and facilitating ongoing learning opportunities.

Once built, review your program roadmap annually to update priorities and tasks over time. Perhaps it is important to the organization to look at unstructured data first, and then go after problems with email. Or perhaps, from a privacy or security perspective, prioritize a data mapping project.

Who Should Own the Program and Reporting?

One of the most frequently asked questions is which business function should "own" or oversee the Information Governance or records management program? Legal? IT? Compliance? Placement varies across organizations of all sizes. Organizations need to assess their profile and determine where it fits best.

Here are three Information Governance ownership models to consider:

  • Single Department: Historically, records management has been placed in or managed by a single department, for example Legal or Facilities. CIGO (Chief Information Governance Officer): A newly created, centralized function of the Chief Information Governance Office (CIGO), reporting directly to a top-level executive, is often talked about, but relatively rare in implementation. More often, a centralized steering committee is used with cross-functional membership. Matrixed: The majority of organizations use a matrix organization where Legal owns the retention policy, IT owns the technology and all work with the business units in a collaborative environment.

Final Word

When filling a role in either your records management or Information Governance team, there are key skills that need to be taken into consideration. Understand what you are trying to accomplish and whether you are building or maintaining a program to find the right person, or people, to fill your needs. Utilizing a roadmap will help you stay on course and ensure the necessary steps to help you achieve success.

Additional Resources

Additional content on this topic is available in the InfoPAKs "Creating a Modern, Compliant and Easier-to-execute Records Retention Schedules" and "Information Governance Primer for In-house Counsel" and at

About Contoural

Contoural is the largest independent provider of strategic Information Government consulting services. We work with more than 30% of the Fortune 500, and numerous mid-sized and small companies and provide services across the globe. We are subject matter experts in Information Governance, including records and information management, litigation preparedness/regulatory inquiry, information privacy and the control of sensitive information, combining the understanding of business, legal and compliance objectives, along with operational and infrastructure thresholds, to develop and execute programs that are appropriately sized, practical and "real-world." Contoural is also a sponsor of ACC's Information Governance Committee. It is also a sponsor's ACC Legal Operations Committee records management toolkit. More information is available at

Region: Global
The information in any resource collected in this virtual library should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on specific facts and should not be considered representative of the views of its authors, its sponsors, and/or ACC. These resources are not intended as a definitive statement on the subject addressed. Rather, they are intended to serve as a tool providing practical advice and references for the busy in-house practitioner and other readers.

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work properly; others help us improve the user experience.

By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. For more information, read our cookies policy and our privacy policy.