Future of Work at State and Local Agencies

Government agencies, like many private sector organizations, have embraced a hybrid work environment. 

Most signs point to a future of work at state and local government agencies that looks similar to how it did in 2020. 

The next twelve months will be about optimizing how agencies operate. This will require adoption of technology to get work done faster, enable transparency, and empower remote staff. 

“Much of the enhanced collaboration capabilities will come in the form of digitized solutions that will streamline teleworking and allow government employees to remain efficient and effective – from any location,” according to a recent article on The Future of Work in the State and Local Arena on Governing.com.

Last year the new remote work reality ushered in a rapid adoption of technology to support a productive government employee experience. From remote onboarding of new employees to time-sheet management, HR forms and workflow went online. 

Local and state government departments adopted electronic signature technology for a number of HR related forms, including:

  • Employee onboarding
  • Employee time sheets
  • Employee policies
  • HR Forms like I-9s
  • Remote work policies
  • Vaccination records 

This year, we see continued investment by agencies in tools to support digital human resources processes. HR will serve as the guides for acquiring and maintaining the right employee engagement tools, for developing usage policies around video conferencing, and for automating employee processes and paperwork.

New HR automation processes will make it easier for communicating with and managing remote workforces. Modern tools can automate steps in common HR workflows, minimizing the amount of human time needed and reducing room for human error.

Related: Coming into the Office ‘Once or Twice a Year’: How the Pandemic is Reshaping the Future of Public Sector Work

Here are our top three tips for agencies considering bringing more forms online. 

Three steps to adoption of electronic signature technology in government HR

  1. Focus on ease of use: what is a simple and well-defined process or workflow in your department that would benefit from going digital? Often we accept that administrative tasks just take time, when there may be a solution that would save you, your team, and your employees hours each month. 
  2. Get the signer experience right: ensure that your new electronic signature solution is easy to use for your team and for employees. Can you offer the signer a guided form type of experience so that they fill out required fields one question at a time? Can you pre-fill any of the required fields with data you already have in your systems? Once it’s submitted, will the signer receive a copy? 
  3. Expand to other forms: Many departments start by digitizing paper-only forms, but the real staff productivity benefits are seen when you make every form digitally fillable, signable and searchable. 

Can we use electronic signature technology to help us digitize employees' filing of time-cards?

Most states have permanent electronic signature regulations and many also have emergency regulations. Check with your Secretary of State or controller’s office to see what regulations are in place where you work. 

Also before beginning a transition from paper documents to electronic ones, public entities need to ensure that all the parties to the transaction are willing to use digital signatures. Check your state or local government code for current regulations. Most electronic signature technologies have an option to begin each transaction with an acknowledgement and consent to use electronic signature for the agreement.

What are other potential applications of electronic signature technology for state and local governments?

Electronic signatures can be used for many transactions that previously required a handwritten signature on paper. Potential uses include:

  • Business permits
  • Licensing 
  • Purchasing contracts
  • Supplier agreements
  • Facilities contracts
  • Patient consent forms
  • Job applications
  • College applications
  • Liability waivers

The Government Finance Officers Association recommends “that state and local governments continue to improve electronic access to their services and information by other government entities and the public. When the identity of contact and/or the contents of the information received must be authenticated, the use of a secure form of electronic signatures is encouraged.” 

More than 3,000 federal, state and local government agencies in all 50 states use DocuSign to work remotely with electronic forms, agreements, applications, correspondence management and approval processes. To learn more, check out the DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Government.

Thanks to Governing.com for allowing us to share excerpts from their original article, Future of Work in the State and Local Arena.