As your business grows, there comes a time when you might decide to leave QuickBooks or spreadsheets behind and implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that will take you to a new level of business sophistication. Better than just an accounting system, an ERP system can significantly improve the productivity of your employees. To get the most out of an ERP system, you need to prepare your employees for that change.
Start at the top
To make the most impact, ERP system implementation requires the commitment of the entire team, from the top down. The vision for the company's future needs to be clearly articulated and all planning directed toward supporting that vision. With a well-defined goal, it's much easier for each department to see how they can use the new functionality of ERP to support the goal.
The executive team can also start the discussion of change management early in the process. Change is hard for everyone, and if the ERP implementation is effective, there will be plenty of change. Help your employees understand that there will be training and guidance along the way, but that minds need to be open to embrace transformation.
Open minds and communication
In order to understand the way processes currently work and how they can work in the ERP environment, employees will need to look at their work objectively. If your team is ready to embrace change, they will be open to discussing new ways of performing their tasks without being threatened.
How can you help your team keep an open mind about the changes coming? Showing them a preview of the ERP system can help them envision how their work will be done in the new system. Also, setting up regular lines of communication should begin before the implementation. Start talking about the change before it happens, so that everyone feels included in the process. Ask for ideas to improve current processes from the people that are doing the work.
Project and training plans
Prepare your team for what's ahead. Project plans with target dates and task assignments help individuals plan ahead for extra work. ERP implementations require employees to do their regular job plus transitional tasks. They will worry about how they can manage the load, but a clear beginning and a clear end will help them envision the other side.
A thorough training plan includes guidance before, during, and after the ERP implementation. On demand training provides the self-motivated with unlimited training opportunities, but some employees will need more hand holding. Prepare for the different learning styles to ensure no worker is left behind.
Off to a great start
When you commit to an ERP implementation, you are preparing to transform your business. Your employees need to understand the commitment required from them and embrace the opportunity. With transparent planning and open communication you can make a huge difference in their readiness to not only adopt the new ERP system, but to also make it a better ERP system.