Reducing Human Error in the Workplace with Automated Document Assembly
Any type of manual process is vulnerable to some form of human error. Even a seemingly minor mistake like a misspelled name, incorrectly keyed data, or an overlooked form field can wind up costing an organization time and money in terms of remediation.
Research into human error in the workplace has demonstrated that the average person makes three to six errors per hour no matter what task they’re performing. Critically, this error rate holds true across a variety of job functions and circumstances. Experience level often has little bearing on how often someone commits an error.
Fortunately, automation tools are helping organizations to combat human error in the workplace. For legal organizations, this often takes the form of automated document assembly features within their contract management solutions.
What Is Human Error in the Workplace?
Human error is defined as an unintended outcome caused by an individual’s mistake, oversight, or neglect. An error can occur during the planning or execution process for any task. Generally speaking, human errors are broken into two broad categories: skill-based errors and mistakes.
A skill-based error refers to errors involving specialized tasks an individual has the skills and training to perform. They are frequently encountered with highly repetitive or routine tasks. Distractions, oversights, fatigue, and lack of concentration are typically responsible for this form of human error in the workplace. The most challenging aspect of skill-based errors is that they are more common among experienced employees.
In the case of contract assembly, a lawyer may know which clauses need to be included, but might omit one of them because they’re in a hurry or trying to complete multiple tasks at once. Similar errors like transposing numbers or skipping a step in a process are also considered skill-based errors.
A mistake differs from a skill-based error in that the individual typically lacks the proper knowledge or training to perform a task correctly. They are much more common among less experienced employees who may not know the correct way to do something. Rules-based errors, which occur when someone follows the wrong procedure to complete a task or neglects key steps in a process, also fall under this category.
Looking again at contract assembly, a mistake might occur if an attorney doesn’t know the correct way to save a document and instead stores it in a way that creates a security risk. Skipping over a step in contract preparation because “we never have to worry about that” is another common source of mistakes.
Human Error in Contract Management
Although human error is a challenge for all areas of business operations, it’s especially important in contract creation and management. According to a 2018 study by SpringCM, 74 percent of businesses report that human error impacts their contracting process often or very often. That’s partly because many of them still rely upon traditional word processing programs like Microsoft Word or Google Docs out of habit and convenience. In many cases, document assembly consists of drafting new legal language or typing and pasting existing text into a document, which is a time consuming and error-prone process.
The biggest risk in legal contracts involves scrivener’s errors, which are unintended typographical or formatting errors that range from something as simple as a misplaced comma to omissions that substantially alter the contract terms. Although obvious errors are generally easy to fix, others can lead to prolonged legal disputes that must ultimately be resolved by a court ruling. Finding ways to minimize human error during the document assembly process not only streamlines contract management, but can also substantially reduce risk.
Another source of human error in the workplace, however, is connected to security and version confusion. When multiple people are able to edit or download documents, there is a risk that they will do so in ways that create security risks. Take, for instance, someone who wants to edit a contract, but decides to do so by downloading a copy to their local device over a poorly-secured internet connection.
To complicate matters further, they may even open that document using a third-party application, unintentionally sharing potentially confidential information in the process. When they’ve finished working on the contract, they upload it back into their business application, which not only may introduce malware picked up along the way, but also creates a new version of the file. The latest changes to the contract will therefore go unnoticed by someone working from another copy.
How Automated Document Assembly Can Reduce Human Error in the Workplace
Document assembly solutions like PrizmDoc Editor can help LegalTech applications minimize human error by automating key aspects of the contract creation process. Rather than manually drafting a contract, key information can be extracted from multiple sources and inserted into a templated document programmatically. Placeholder fields are filled with the correct information and appropriate clauses included based on the needs of the contract. Critically, all of this is done before anyone lays a hand on the document, which eliminates the threat of human error during the contract assembly process.
PrizmDoc Editor achieves this automation through the use of powerful REST APIs that also provide versatile editing and access control options. Since document assembly and subsequent editing happens entirely within a secure application, private contract information stays protected and there’s less chance of version confusion during the collaboration process. By automating contract creation and limiting how documents can be distributed during editing, PrizmDoc Editor can help LegalTech applications significantly reduce human error in the workplace.
Unlock LegalTech Automation with PrizmDoc Editor
Today’s LegalTech developers need document assembly capabilities that allow them to leverage the potential of their innovative software solutions. Find out how PrizmDoc Editor can help reduce human error in the workplace with its ability to compile, control, and customize documents by downloading a free trial. Get everything you need in a ready-to-run Docker image and start your evaluation right away!