Please sign on the electronic line

When I joined the Softchoice gym over a year ago I had to sign a 3-page form to release Softchoice from any liability. At this time we had quite a few employees sign up to use the new workout facilities, and therefore went through a ton of paper getting everyone on board.

Over the last year we’ve been talking about trying to get some of our internal paper processes to be done electronically instead. And it’s no easy feat. Our first email back from HR on the topic was:

So I put this forward to the team and unfortunately we were unable to think of anything that we could do without.  Everything that we print we print because we have to (from a legal perspective we have to have paper copies, often signed, in employee files).  Everything that does not require printing is stored in the database.

So then we approached legal. I was utilizing electronic signatures for a variety of contracts that I was signing for marketing and they were being accepted. And I had been to many conferences and trainings that showed many governments using electronic processes. (and they are the ones that make the laws!) So I had a hunch that it wasn’t legal that would hold us back.

So our meeting with our legal team was today, and they don’t have a problem with electronic contracts and signatures at all. In most cases, it more out of habit and because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” that organizations hold tight to paper copies. So then we started getting at the real reasons why we weren’t moving to electronic forms. The main reasons, time and resources were a WAY bigger concern than the legal.

It was overwhelming to the HR team to take on a new project, when they were already swamped with current ones. Why would anyone take on more work? Even if it was for a good cause.  We felt their pain and didn’t want our green efforts to come across as something that created work for people.

But then again, how much work would it be? We actually didn’t know. It seemed like it would take a lot to change all the forms, find electronic ways to store and secure them and educate employees on how to do it. But we didn’t really know. So what we did agree on was that we’d build a project plan. We’d bring in an expert from Adobe that could scope out the project for us and really inform us on how much work it would be.

Now that was something that HR was willing to commit to. They were willing to spend 1hr to understand the scope of this project more and we made a bit of progress today. A big learning is that all great green ideas can come across as being “work” to others. So it’s important to find out the real reasons holding people back, and take the time to give people what they need to make informed decisions.

Oh yeah, there was another cool win. We did decide to make the gym waiver electronic, and even though I already signed one a year ago, I just couldn’t help but sign it again electronically!

About Melissa Alvares

Melissa was the head of Softchoice’s campaign marketing team, responsible for providing organizations with information on the latest technology trends, insights and solutions from the desktop to the data center.