How can you get your employees on board with a new ERP?
Whether you are a Managing Director, IT Manager or Project manager, one of the biggest challenges you might face is to get your teams on board with new changes. Change is generally something which causes worry. To accept change, your employees need to understand the logic of it, what’s at stake, the implications and, importantly, the improvements that they can expect from it. This isn’t only in terms of the company but also of their own job.
Integrating a new solution in a company needs to be done with guidance and care, and must appear to be legitimate and relevant if employees are get on board with it.
“If a user doesn’t believe in the system then they will create a parallel system. Neither one of them will function correctly.” Golub’s Law, no. 14
Here are a few recommendations for a successful transition:
- Involve future users from the earliest stages of the job-specific solution
In this way, the changes will be perceived as an improvement and not as a constraint. Each employee, whatever their role, will contribute to thinking about the issues and improvements that the new solution will bring. Problematic issues will be raised and you will be able to explain how this new solution will deal with them. You will also be able to reassure them, because resistance to change often comes from a fear of not managing the change well.
- Create a project team by integrating specialist “advisers” into the software roll-out process:
Any person bringing their expertise to the project becomes an active participant and is no longer a passive spectator. These people will create the link between the development team and future users. You will also gain a better analysis of their needs.
- Communicate during the whole project, from design to roll-out
Communication must involve and empower employees so that they make the project their own. It must be regular so that the new practices are easy to learn and acquire. It also needs to focus on the different stages of implemention, such as the calendar, checkpoints, the role of different contributors to the project team both in the company and the external service provider, as well as any expected improvements.
- Organise training sessions
Training your employees will allow each of them to get to grips with the new tool. Training sessions must be adapted and personalised according to the needs of the users. The ideal solution would be to integrate the solution into a non-theoretical, professional context using real situations.
Users will need long-term guidance. Be sure to make a resource centre available (online training guides, detailed user guides, document library, etc.) so that users can revisit a feature at any time and perfect their use of the software. A user who realises that the company is doing everything it can to help with their learning of the software will adapt more easily to the change.
- Promote professional identity and its development
The transition to a new tool must be promoted and presented as the reinforcement of one’s professional identity. Managing an operational or even organisational transition must take into account the ways in which each individual will construct their own professional identity.
- Cost and mode of acquisition
Don’t forget that project management software is a long-term investment. It is therefore essential to compare the total costs over several years. ERP software can be bought under licence or with a monthly subscription. Check what the providers on your shortlist are offering. The cost of such a solution will include licenses and infrastructures depending on the model, the deployment, the project and integration time, maintenance and support, the purchase of additional modules if there is no comprehensive package, future standard or specific developments, etc.
- Lastly, listen to your users
Other than the possibility to set up potential corrective measures and to anticipate future changes, it is important to give users the chance to speak about their experiences to guarantee long-lasting uptake of the new tool.