Mitigating resistance to change in an ERP implementation.

Organisations evolve their business processes around the strengths and weakness of business systems and employees. Because implementing an ERP solution consolidates disparate processes into an integrated solution, these processes will change. However, while overall staff productivity improves, it’s not all sweetness and light:

Workloads can shift, reducing for some employees but possibly increasing for others. For example, creating customer records shifting from the back office to the front-line.

The shift in workload can also result in a need for a change in skill set, often as the efficiency gains of transaction processing frees up time for other activities.

Some employees can lose the ease of access and the customised nature of information from their adhoc systems, such as manual note books, spreadsheets, etc.

In other words, the gain for the many can come at the expense of a few. A couple of options for mitigating these pain points are:

Motivating staff to embrace and drive change.

This begins with communicating the business objectives to the impacted staff. Then the sales mantra of ‘explain the features, sell the benefits’, which means being clear about how the changes will impact the individual day to day and what benefits they will derive. Elsewhere we talk about achieving this as part of your vendor selection process.

Focus on Training.

Having staff motivated to accept change makes it easier to gain acceptance of changing roles. However, on occasion fear of not being up to the challenge and/or becoming redundant can generate a serious amount of stress and change resistance.

At times ERP vendors training personnel are consultants who while having deep product knowledge lack real world experience and/or the interpersonal skills. So how the training team will deal with change resistance should be part of the vendor selection process.

From a vendors perspective, estimating training requirements is notoriously difficult, and a single recalcitrant trainee can suck up training time at a surprising rate of knots.

Those executing the training are likely to be the first to identify these issues so it can be beneficial to have regular debriefs of the training team including a trainee by trainee assessment and agreed actions if necessary.