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6 min read

Even before the remote work wave urged organizations towards a digital-first workplace, business leaders were aware that the future was steeped in digital transformation and technology. 

With a report highlighting that more than half of respondents wanted to go digital with their organization’s operations for users, it’s clear that the trends have been pointing in the direction of digitizing the workplace experience in recent years.

But which process brings the most benefits when digitized? For many, the first answer to this question could be signatures and sign-offs, and the overall push to ditching paper and going paperless.

Forrester’s study (in collaboration with Adobe) takes a deep dive into how electronic signatures saw a jump in uptake throughout 2020, streamlining manual processes like document signing, other administrative tasks and empowering new employees and managers alike.

Here’s a roundup of their top findings, and a few examples and situations demonstrating how you could implement digital signatures for your front-line workforce.

 

 

E-signatures for employees in the new normal: Forrester’s findings and recommendations

Signatures aren’t just important for delivery drivers and repair receipts—they’re crucial for tracking compliance for employees and business processes, too.

Here are a few of the most relevant statistics found in Forrester’s report:

  • Over 60% of surveyed business leaders said that eSignatures are necessary for their business to stay competitive.

  • Universally, respondents knew that e-signatures are more budget-friendly, boost employee productivity, and also integrate with “everyday productivity applications”.

  • 58% stated that since the COVID-19 pandemic started, more and more of their coworkers and competitors are rolling out electronic signature solutions.

  • Digitizing document processes and document workflows is firmly connected to a better employee experience, 40% of respondents noted.

  • 77% have decided that they search for e-signatures as a key part of any digital document solution when looking to purchase or upgrade.

Table from Forrester's report showing

Table from Forrester's report

 

Forrester’s study notes that participants are looking towards digitizing processes past signatures, too.

The report recommends that companies continue to see e-signatures as a more secure, future-proof solution and that they’re also something to invest in for years to come. The future is bright, with digital sign-offs and e-signature technology powering document workflows, the integration of important documents into the compliance process and more. 

 

Who is using eSignatures?

It's not just customers signing for deliveries who should learn to appreciate e-signatures: Forrester notes in the final recommendations section that it’s key to view document digitization as an opportunity for the whole workforce—not just front staff and management teams.

 

The report closes with this reminder.

 

Interestingly, e-signatures and digital documents are still seeing less use by departments that aren't customer-facing. In another report by Forrester and Adobe, when asked which of their departments were digitizing their document processes, only 35% and 28% of operations and human resources, respectively, said that they were digital.

 

The operations opportunity for e-signatures

With the findings showing that e-signatures (and digitized documents as a whole) aren't seeing as much use by departments like operations, it's worth highlighting why they should be.

Digital documentation use by department (Forrester)

 

  1. Automation is on the mind of every leader responsible for digital transformation. When the best platforms are automating signature processes to make employees more productive, it's time to explore how to apply that to your operations and HR departments. 

    Signatures are just one of the many cogs in the employee experience wheel that can be digitized and automated. Sign-offs for safety checks, approvals and receipts are all tasks that benefit from being searchable and digital.

 

  1. The typical office structure has changed with remote teams and work-at-home setups. By implementing e-signatures as a baked-in part of your employees' digital workplace, their true value will shine more quickly than you may think. 

    Onboarding, routine training and screening processes can be streamlined with e-signatures. And if they're part of your employee app, they'll be sent to direct reports upon completion.

 

  1. When signatures are stored digitally, security risks and the potential for lost documentation go down. Forrester's findings show that workplaces that aren't using e-signatures and similar digital document processes are placing individuals at 10x the risk.

 

E-signatures can be built into forms for sign-offs, document workflows and more, adding a new level of digitization to daily compliance processes.

 

 

How digital sign-offs can be an addition to your organization

Moving from the print, sign, scan and email loop towards electronic sign-offs can make a world of difference for everyone from HR managers to frontline staff. 

It's best to view a signature as more than just a signature: With iTacit, for instance, signatures are integrated right into forms and checklists. This way, an important policy can be a step in a form, with the whole form only being completed once the signature has been inputted. Then, a direct report will get the submitted form sent right to them, with the whole compliance process being completed once their sign-off is—well, signed off on!

More than eSignatures, paperless signatures enhance traceability, lower risks and are an all-round valuable tool for the digital workforce.

 

eSignatures are a worthy investment

The switch to digital documentation will only gain more momentum, with the future promising an even greater showing for the digital workplace.

Cameron Squance

by Cameron Squance

Cameron is iTacit's Digital Marketing & Demand Specialist. A storyteller and passionate communicator, Cameron is busy most days researching the latest trends, keeping content relevant and engaging.