Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, A Comprehensive Guide to Change Management & ERP Implementations (144-slide PowerPoint presentation). This slide deck contains everything (well almost) you would ever want to know about Change Management and ERP Implementations. It includes ERP Success and Failure, Why Change Management for ERP, my Practical Framework Approach to Change specifically tailored for ERP Implementations [read more]
How to Prepare Your Employees for An ERP System Implementation
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Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in your business is an excellent way to improve and streamline your operations. That being said, preparing your employees adequately is a crucial part of laying firm groundwork for the ERP system to succeed. You should ensure that they’re on board before you begin the implementation.
Your teams will need to know how the system will affect their work. They also need to be taken through the training necessary to help them adapt to the new ways of running workflows. This article will teach you various ways you can prepare your employees for ERP system implementation.
Lean on Your Implementation Partner
Your implementation partner has a lot of experience with employee expectation management. They’re best suited to help your teams understand what the system is about and the changes it’s going to make in their designated stations. To ensure that your teams are well-prepared for the implementation, you may want to find an experienced implementation partner and make use of the skills and expertise of their consulting team, such as Corning Data’s elite JD Edwards consulting, for instance.
They can help you scope out the project correctly and support the employees that are future ERP users. Tapping on the expertise of your provider can help you with team preparation, expectation management, and training. Remember, they’re experts in technology and implementation, so their responsibilities may include the preparation of the system users. They will be able to offer thorough and in-depth information, and they may cover important areas you aren’t familiar with.
Don’t Rush the Implementation
Implementing an ERP system isn’t something you should do in a rush. The first time you implement an ERP system won’t be easy for the business or the employees. It’s a complex project consisting of many moving parts. You must be realistic and practical about the project’s timeline and share it with team leaders.
The ERP system will take time to run accordingly, and having everyone on board will not be a quick process either. It would be best if you didn’t rush yourself or your teams into it. Understand the scope of the project and the time you’ll need to have all the pieces in place. This will give your teams enough time to digest the changes happening and to get used to them.
Onboard Your Team Early
On the top of every employee’s mind is how the implementation of the ERP system will affect their work. You need to help them define and understand the changes they’ll experience at each level. The best way to eliminate worry and confusion among your employees is to be transparent from the beginning. Be open in your communication and expectations.
If there are going to be any changes in their current roles, no matter how small, you need to tell them. When you communicate, be clear. Break it down into easy-to-understand portions. Request feedback and ask for opinions and suggestions. When you make them part of the process, it becomes easier for them to own it. But most importantly, you must ensure that your employees get information about the change from you and not any other source.
Set Up an Internal Power Team
For the ERP system to have a better impact on the company, you need people from all departments on board. Outline and designate roles to an internal team that will lead the implementation, ensuring that the project’s goal is clear. While the management team is always best suited to spearhead such operations, you need the input of your staff members to make it a success.
Create an internal power team with members from each department to lead the project. Keep in mind that the ERP system will affect the work environment on different levels. There will be new workflow procedures, processes, and collaborations. Having an agile team campaigning for the ERP system in each department will go a long way in terms of the success of its implementation.
You know the high performers and engaged members of your team. This is the best time to use them. Pick the employees who always show initiative, and use them to encourage their colleagues. The rest of your employees might be more open-minded and receptive to the message if it comes from their peers. When you have the right people on board, they can contribute significantly to how the rest of the team accepts the implementation plans.
Support Their Learning Curve
For your employees, work as they’ve known it is going to change. Try and help them transition into their new work system. Besides sharing the benefits of using an ERP system, train them on the new workflow and processes. Among the most significant challenges you may encounter during the implementation is employees having difficulty adapting to the system.
You may need to conduct continuous training. Don’t stop at the introductory training your implementation partner provides. The learning curve may still be steep, and learning the system may be challenging to some employees. If you want things to go smoothly, dedicate effort to training. Despite the amount of time and resources the process may entail, continuing education is one effective way to prepare your employees for ERP implementation.
In implementing an ERP system, a vital piece of its success lies in the reception it will receive from your employees. After all, it will be an integral part of business operations and may cause significant changes in the way your employees do things. Using the methods discussed above may help you prepare your employees adequately to ensure a smoother implementation.
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About Shane AvronShane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.
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