Procrastinators of the world unite…eventually …
Nobody likes change, this may be especially true in a work context because we all have our ‘own way’ of doing things. Recently, a new member of staff came on board in my company. He was really enthusiastic and wanted us all to start using some new communication tools that he’d found useful in his last company. That mix of enthusiasm, new boy and new tools, resulted in a less than enthusiastic reception. Everyone sighed and bitched, and told him to, “shove his new toys where the sun don’t shine”. Maybe more nicely than that, but ultimately, that’s how we all reacted to his proposed changes. Of course, in the end, he was totally right, and after much whining and complaining and general push back, we all came on board and haven’t looked back since – communications, between the remote workers, have improved massively.
Why do we react like this? I know the story above isn’t anything unusual, there are even people studying the phenomena and doing PhD’s in the reasons why people resist change, especially technological change. A report by MIT Sloan Management review into people “embracing digital technologies”, found that even though 78% of people believe that digital technologies can make major positive changes to a business, there was little urgency about actually making the change. It is like people want to do it, know they really should, but can’t be bothered with the hassle.
Know your type and make it happen
But as we all know, some areas of our business need change and this is positive being good for business, and good for us as individuals and workers. E signatures platforms are one type of digital technology that is actually a positive force for change in the workplace. Not just for large companies, but for small ones and solo freelancers too. Online document signing, which is what e signature technology allows you to do, makes online processes:
Easier – you don’t have to print documents out to sign them, it’s all done online
More secure – you can use digital technology to make sure that once a document is signed, no one comes in and makes sneaky changes
Automated – makes things more automated, those process woes are removed; no more losing signed documents, no more hassling people to remind them to sign
So if it’s so good for us we need to find ways to make it happen. Out of all of this procrastination and resistance we need to understand what and who we are dealing with. Once you know what you are dealing with, you can deal with it. The types of people who push back can be loosely broken down into the following categories (although you may have personal experience of outliers within this too):
The ‘I just don’t have the time to learn how to do it’ person: They are good employees, who are conscientious, but already feel that they have enough on their plate and don’t want to spend the time learning new stuff.
The ‘technophobe’: They are true luddites and are happy with the non-digital version of any given process. In fact, they can be quite negative and bring lots of others with them on a negative journey; a bit like the luddites anti-technology movement of the 18th century.
The ‘I could do it, but I don’t want to’ person’: They are possibly the most difficult of all to deal with as they are usually quite tech savvy, but also frightened of change as it may show some weaknesses in their position as brain box
The ‘scaredy cat’: Some people just don’t like change because it scares them. Sometimes the fear comes from being worried that the new tool won’t work, or will make more work.
Several of these ‘types’ of attitude are understandable. In recent years there has been a tendency for technology to be ‘tech for tech’s sake’ and not serve any real purpose. But with truly useful technology, or as I like to call it ‘true tech’, such as e signature solutions, this isn’t the case. Technology that serves a true purpose and actually improves the workflow patterns that people are used to, and is a natural fit, has a different outcome once you introduce it.
Taking it from that first introduction to true love
The best way to show your team how to start using e signature technology is to look at the steps to success that you can use as a basis for change acceptance, not change resistance. I’ll use the ApproveMe WP E signature platform as a guide to how to get your team on board with the idea of using e signatures:
Step 1: “Resistance is useless”
Identify the ‘type’ of resistor you have in your team and counter them directly. So for example, the person who is just too busy to ‘learn’ how to use e signatures, needs to understand that they only require a few clicks to sign documents online, and in fact, are easier to use than the normal hard copy signature process. WP E signature for example, works as a plugin directly from your own WordPress website. Your team can just go in, find the contract which is securely held on your own website, open it up, and click to sign. It’s best when dealing with resistance of the ‘scardy cat’ and ‘too busy’ variety, to focus on the ‘ease of use’ of the solution. Don’t overload the first introduction with technical detail – it simply doesn’t matter that you have the use of audit trails, and the security of digital certificates and encryption underlying the platform – the people actually using the system, will likely never need to know about these features.
Step 2: Dealing with the naysayers
People who are interested in technology or who work in that area, will likely have many questions about the details of how the solution works. This is good, but don’t allow them to muddy the waters that you’ve already cleared with those concerned about the difficulty of using an e signature solution. You will already have shown how easy it is to use for end users, so if anyone wants to know the ins and outs of a solution, then give out details on a ‘need to know basis’. In this way you don’t overwhelm your general users, but keep your techie users happy.
Also, be prepared for technical users to ask tricky questions. ApproveMe has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section which you can use to prepare responses. (Head down to the bottom of the page for more 🙂
One useful trick that some team managers utilize, is to get their naysayers on board at the outset and use them as part of the introduction of the new technology, even offering training sessions to other team members. Delegation, when done well, is a wonderful thing.
Step 3: Be prepared
Most good e signature solution vendors will help you to sell your chosen e signature solution to your team. You should be able to find a variety of content about the features and benefits of the solution on their website. ApproveMe, for example, have a section that shows you what the features of the solution are in a very straightforward way. Keeping it simple and tailoring it to the main uses of your team, will show them why you’ve made the choice in using e signatures.
Step 4: Let them play
People love to play – as Pokemon Go has just proven. Setup test documents and let your team members perform online document signing to see for themselves how easy it is to use, and how it really does reduce their workload and improve productivity. This is a great time to bring on board those tech savvy users to coordinate playtime and turn it into a training exercise.
Step 5: All the world needs now, is love, love, love
By now, if you’ve chosen a simple to use, integrated e signature solution, like ApproveMe’s WP e signature plugin, you should have the individual ‘types’ within your team onboard with your choice. They may still have the odd question, but your preparation done in step 3 should help resolve those last queries. Your team should become enthusiasts, experts in the use of online document signing. By the time they have gotten to this step, the ‘no time to fit it in person’ will see it saves them time, the ‘technophobe’ will feel confident, the ‘tech savvy’ will be your greatest advocate, and the ‘scaredy cat’ will be a lion of change. .
Whichever category your team members comes into, they will find out that e signature platforms make the workplace a better, simpler and more productive place to be.