The shift toward paperless offices in the conveyancing industry has become a necessity, driven by the need for greater efficiency, security, and sustainability. However, the success of this transition depends heavily on your team’s willingness and ability to adapt to these changes.
We know that human beings are hardwired to resist change. So naturally, you might find that you’re up against some opposition when introducing new processes or procedures into your office.
Remember that this resistance does not come from a place of defiance. Instead, it is often fear of the unknown, the ‘comfortableness’ of the norm (no matter how clunky or time-consuming that is) or even anxiety around what these changes might mean for your team’s jobs and workload.
So, if you’re considering taking steps to transition your business to a paperless office, here are some strategies to help bring your team along on that journey:
1. Communicate your vision for a paperless office.
Before introducing any changes, it’s essential to articulate a clear vision of why transitioning to a paperless office is beneficial. Understanding the bigger picture will help your team to recognise why the changes you’re introducing are so important (and also, ‘whats in it for them’).
Highlight how it will streamline workflows, reduce errors, enhance security, and contribute to a more sustainable workplace. Ensure your team understands that this transition isn’t about replacing them with technology but about making their jobs more manageable and more enjoyable.
2. Involve your team from day one.
Include your team members in the decision-making process right from the beginning. You can do this in various ways, such as asking for their input on what digital tools and software to implement, how to implement certain changes and weighing up the pros and cons for different solutions.
When your employees feel that they’re being listened to and that their opinions are valued, they’re more likely to embrace the changes wholeheartedly.
It’s important to note that if this collaborative process isn’t something that they’ve been involved in before, they may be apprehensive to contribute at first. Continue to ask for their feedback and encourage them to share their views. It won’t happen overnight, but your persistence will pay off.
3. Provide adequate training.
Transitioning to a paperless office often means adopting new software and tools. Ensure that your team receives thorough training to build their confidence in using these tools effectively. It is likely that one-off training will not be sufficient, particularly if they’re learning whilst simultaneously managing a portfolio of properties.
Offer ongoing, regular training sessions and resources, including opportunities to provide feedback and ask questions. If you have the resources to do so, you might consider temporarily lightening their workload while they get a handle on the new systems and processes.
4. Highlight the benefits (for the business and them).
Emphasise the advantages of the transition. Paperless offices lead to reduced clutter, faster document retrieval, and improved accessibility to information, allowing your team to work more efficiently. Moreover, going paperless often results in cost savings, which can translate into better job security and potential salary increases.
Ensure your team is aware of both the benefits to the business as well as for themselves. You’ll have a far more difficult time trying to implement a change that only benefits your business compared to implementing one that also benefits your team.
5. Start small. It’s not a race to be a paperless office.
Begin the transition by digitising specific processes rather than overhauling the entire conveyancing process at once. For example, digitise your matter checklist (by using your workflow within Realtime Conveyancer) but retain the paper checklist for a period of time until your team is confident with the digital method.
This gradual approach allows your team to adapt without feeling overwhelmed. It also offers the opportunity to gather feedback and make necessary changes based on what’s working and what’s not.
6. Foster a learning culture.
Encourage a culture of continuous learning within your organisation. Invest in your team and provide regular opportunities for them to attend workshops, webinars, or conferences. Empower them to seek out professional development opportunities that align with areas they feel they need assistance.
This investment in their professional development can boost their confidence when navigating the transition to a new digital working environment.
7. Offer support and resources.
Not everyone is going to pick things up at the same speed. Recognise that some team members may be more tech-savvy than others.
Ensure that additional support and resources, such as training and software assistance, are readily available and that they know how to access them to address their concerns and questions promptly.
8. Create digital champions.
Identify those employees who are more ‘tech-savvy’. Empower them to become digital champions within your organisation. Often, you’ll find that your team will be more inclined to turn to each other for support rather than management, and these digital champions can serve as mentors for staff to lean on.
9. Monitor progress, and don’t forget to celebrate successes!
Regularly assess the progress of the transition using both quantitative and qualitative measures. Consider things like time spent working on matters, employee and client satisfaction and cost reduction.
It is also just as important (if not more) to celebrate achievements along the way. Acknowledging milestones and recognising the efforts of your team can boost morale and maintain their enthusiasm for the changes.
10. Be patient and genuinely encourage feedback.
Transitioning to a paperless office can be challenging, and it’s essential to be patient with your team as they adapt. They will take longer to complete tasks in the beginning as they get used to the new processes. Give them time to learn and adapt before making any more changes.
Encourage open and honest feedback to address any concerns promptly and make necessary improvements.
11. Lead by example.
As a leader, it’s vital to lead by example. Embrace the changes yourself and show your team that you are committed to the paperless transition. Share your challenges and openly communicate the steps that you take personally to overcome these challenges and embrace the changes.
Your enthusiasm and willingness to learn can inspire your team to follow suit.