What To Do If You’re Getting the Paperless Pushback

Paperless Pushback-rev02The idea of going paperless is pretty revolutionary. It cuts down on waste, saves trees, is easier to organize, is easier to find, and creates a searchable document. It has been a topic of much discussion on our LinkedIn Group, The City Clerk Café, which is flooded with tips for successful implementation. So, why then, is there still pushback on going the paperless route?

Change takes time, and generations of individuals who have been working with paper for 10, 20, 30, even 40 years have a hard time exchanging a physical piece of paper for a virtual document. In addition, the prep work of scanning, storing, and organizing paperless information can be overwhelming to some. But the key to adoption is a slow transition period that includes education on the benefits of a paperless system.

How to Combat Paperless Pushback

Get support from higher-ups.
Getting the support of your manager or supervisor is essential to the successful implementation of a paperless plan. Present to them your ideas for going paperless and include a plan and timeline that addresses obstacles you may come across.

Gather support by helping others “own the goal.”
The best way to gather support is to remind co-workers what the ultimate goals of the agency are and how going paperless meets those goals. Perhaps quicker customer exchanges are a goal for your organization. Help others to see that creating searchable documents will speed up customer interaction time and therefore help everyone meet an efficiency goal. Or, maybe your agency wants to help reduce their carbon footprint. Going paperless is an obvious way to be a little lighter on the environment.

Create a plan and process.
Break down the paperless process by creating a plan with goals and deadlines and a comprehensive process. Start, perhaps, by going paperless in one arena—like meeting minutes—and slowly work your way to an entirely paperless office.

Provide a reward system for paperless adopters.
Perhaps you can create an incentive program for every piece of paper saved to help create a fun way to reward adopters of the system.

Get advice from your peers.
If you are still having trouble with the paperless pushback, seek out others who have successfully implemented a paperless process and ask for advice and lessons on how to effectively implement a paperless program.

Just like any major change, adoption of a paperless policy takes time, patience and planning. But getting support, helping others own the goal, creating a plan, providing a reward and seeking advice from a mentor can all help with successful adoption of a paperless program.

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