The right contract management system can go a long way toward improving collaboration, negotiations, compliance, efficiency, productivity, and profitability. According to an Aberdeen Group study, on average, contract creation, negotiation, and approval accounts for 18% of an enterprise’s sales cycle and reducing the cycle by 1 day is worth $80,000.
But sometimes getting your employees on board isn’t so easy. Most people don’t embrace change, and if employees believe a new system will require more of their time in order to learn how to use it, they may resist. Luckily, there are steps you can take to cause your employees to move past clinging to the way things have always been done, and embrace the new technology that will move your business closer to your goals.
Acknowledge Employee Struggles
Before searching for a new contract management solution, get input from your employees. Find out what their pain points are and look for a platform that will help resolve those issues. When you acknowledge employee concerns and show that you’re willing to take steps to alleviate them, it will go a long way in making them see that change is necessary not only for the betterment of the company, but also for them personally as well. Additionally, asking for feedback from your employees will boost morale.
Start at the Top
Once you’ve selected a new solution, have someone in a high position announce it to the team and provide a timeline for the transitions. While some employees may be enthusiastic about the change, others might initially resist it or try to ignore it. If the edict comes from someone at the top, everyone will be more likely to accept it as fact.
Make Them Feel a Part of the Solution
When employees are engaged, they are more productive in their jobs. In fact, a study done by the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program shows that employees who feel valued by their employer are 60% more likely to feel motivated to do their very best for their employer.
And one way to engage them is to include them in the process of transitioning to the new contract management system. Point out the ways the old system hampered their efforts and made their jobs more difficult in the past, and then talk to them about how the new system will enhance their productivity. For instance, if waiting for signatures has caused past deals to be delayed or even abandoned, let your team know that you selected a cloud-based solution that includes e-signing to make it easier to get contracts signed faster.
Further involve them in the process of restructuring your contract management system by holding workshops, encouraging input, and giving them frequent reviews on their progress with the new system. This will make them feel like a valuable part of the process, and they will take pride in their role in the transition.
Talk to Them About Your Vision
Employees want to feel like they’re a part of the company and its vision, and that the work they do matters and is a part of a greater picture. A great way to accomplish that is to talk to them about where the company is going, what their role is in that growth, how the new system will help facilitate it, and then challenge them to do their best.
For instance, your procurement professionals need to understand your big picture goal for moving to an online contract management system, and they need to see how important their role is in the process. In order to accomplish this, you will have to give them the information that will allow them to understand your reasons for the change. If your goal is to cut costs in the procurement process, tell them how those cost savings will benefit them and the company. If your goal is to attract more contracts in the coming year, be sure to let them know that, too. In other words, you should not only make them see your vision, but also help them to take your vision on as their own.
Appoint a Team to Learn the System
Any time a new system is put into place, there is a learning curve involved. To make the transition go smoothly, you should put together a team to learn the system before anyone else. They can do this by diving into the online software system and learning as they go, or they can schedule a demo and learn it from an expert. Then, once that team has worked out the kinks and figured out the best way to apply the solution to your particular business, they can begin the job of training the rest of your employees. This will take the bulk of the burden off the majority of employees, who are likely already strapped for time, and make the transition process easier for everyone.
Ensure Managers and Administrators are Well Trained
To ensure the best success, managers and administrators should have a thorough understanding of the program and be able to answer any questions that arise. In all likelihood, your employees will have questions, even after they’re trained on the system, and managers and administrators should be able to answer them.
In addition, they should be fully up to speed and understand how to set the required controls for all employees. For example, they may set it up so some employees can only view the contracts, while others can make changes and add attachments to them. Or they may want to set up an approval workflow for sending a contract out for signature.
Your managers and administrators will act as guides for employees as they learn the system, so make sure they have all the information they need to act in that role.
Allow Your Employees Sufficient Training Time
Don’t expect your employees to be experts on your new contract management system, even after they’ve been trained by your team. It will likely take some practice and experience before they reach an expert level with the solution.
And the more they learn, the more excited they’ll become because they’ll quickly realize how the contract management system can make their tasks easier. Just imagine what will happen when they discover they can permanently attached any file to a contract, or export the financial details of every contract with a click of a button. Just be sure to give them room to learn at a pace that’s comfortable to them.
Employees who are engaged and satisfied with their work can only make your business better. And by easing the transition to a new contract management system, you’ll ensure they remain motivated and productive. And that’s just good for business.