EDMS represents a huge jump forward for how you’ll do business. Enterprise document management systems will streamline your workflow. It will reduce human error in your records. It will help your workers get more done in less time, and save you money while that happens. However, some offices don’t react with enthusiasm when they learn that a new EDMS system will be put in place. Instead, there’s resistance. Even with how much this will help them do their jobs, for many people EDMS represents the thing we all fear most: change.
The first thing you have to do to address a fear of change is figure out what’s behind the fear. It can be tempting for a frustrated manager to assume that workers are some variation of lazy. They don’t want to put in the effort to learn a new system, they don’t want to work harder, whatever. While there’s always going to be a lazy worker in the mix, laziness is not the primary cause of fear of change.
Fear of obsolescence is the most common fear. This fear is most primarily felt by secretarial workers and assistants. There is a real concern that an easy to use EDMS will replace their jobs. The best way to get around that fear is to reassure people if possible. If you don’t intend to cut jobs, make that known. You’re just looking to shift them into higher value tasks.
Similarly, fear of a radical change in a job description is another common fear. Hopefully, everyone in your company likes their jobs. Healthy ambition for promotion is good, but they should also enjoy the work they’re doing. Many people worry that once an EDMS is in place, the shape of their day will be different. Ease this fear by pointing out how much more time they’ll have to focus on the meat of their tasks.
Furthermore, when you’re informing the office about switching to EDMS, don’t forget to stress the advantages. You can reduce resistance by raising anticipation. You should know what causes frustration in the office. Is the flow of work difficult? Are important deadlines often missed, or rushed? Point out the ways in which the system will ease the burdens of their current workload. Treat the announcement just as if you were trying to sell the EDMS to them.
Make it clear from the outset that you’re going to provide some training with the EDMS. A video session or printed manual will help them learn the ropes. If possible, single out one or two employees to become office experts. Moreover, allow them time in their duties to train and help others. A slow transition with a focus on learning will go a long way towards easing fears and reducing defensiveness towards change.
Fear of change is the most common reason workers balk at EDMS. Work to address the source of fear in your employees. Stress the advantages of the switch, and ensure that quality of competency, not speed, is valued in your workplace.