By now, Christmas is in full steam. There are Christmas tunes on the radio, every store has decked their halls in wreaths and bows and there are sales around every corner. While you may be in full on Christmas spirit, have you thought about if your employees are feeling the joy?
What a lot of organizations fail to realize is: your business is run by your people. You can have all the new technology there is to offer, but if your employees are not having a holy jolly time, then the software is worthless.
While most people avoid change, there are ways to have your employees jump on board the Polar Express to success! (cheesy I know, but go along with it) Change starts from the top and trickles down. There must be executive buy in for your project to work. If your C-Suite isn’t on board, then why should your end users be? As our 2016 ERP Report outlines, only a small percentage of project teams feel as though their process and organizational changes were easy. It is vital to understand that organizational change and training issues account for the number one reason(s) why ERP implementations take longer than expected. 17-percent of projects attribute their number one implementation challenge to their organization’s organizational change and training issues.
So what needs to happen?
For starters, organizational change needs to be thought of as a necessity instead of a nice-to-have. Organizational change management (OCM) is VITAL to the success of your project. OCM is typically the first thing to go when the budget starts getting too high, when it should be the highest priority in the entire project. Effective change management have tangible and quantifiable results on a business’ digital transformation.
OCM is NOT a one-size-fits all
Even though Santa is tailored for children, not all kids are going to like him. Same goes for OCM. You can’t use the same OCM strategy for a $30M / year corporation that you would for a $5M / year family ran business. The specifics that go into creating an organizational change strategy must be tailored for the company. Ideally, this would happen during the software evaluation and selection stage. This way, the executive team will better understand the organizational dynamics, sources of resistance to change and the pockets of resistance within the organization.While it may not quite be Santa’s workshop, but your employees can be on board with change if you push them in the right direction.
More than ever before, high performing government agencies are resembling well-run corporate organizations. They both set defined goals, are both process-oriented and they choose effective leaders. However, one of the biggest mistakes that any company or government agency makes is underestimating the need of change management during an ERP implementation. Any organization that perceives it as an avoidable piece that can be cut at any time is set for an unsuccessful ERP implementation.
While both sectors are dealing with people, the main difference between the public and the private sector in regards to organizational change management is their employee’s motivation for changing. Public sector organizations have their roots in social objectives and they are created to promote a particular aspect of the public’s welfare. Maximizing shareholder’s investment is not a concern for government staffs, taxpayers pay for an effective and efficient execution of their mission–this is what motivates agency workers. The reception to change and acceptance process in the government environment also differs substantially from commercial enterprises. Public careers are considered safe; longevity in the system gives seniority, creating employees who feel protected from internal pressure and have no obvious needs to respond to process and organizational change since there is no financial measurement of success with direct implications for them.
An ERP implementation is quite a complex project, and assuring buy-in across all the levels of the organization is vital for success. This is especially challenging for many government agencies that have had long time employees. Agencies’ leaders come and go and often technology and process improvement initiatives have no impact over time. However, longevity can also be helpful for change management. Long-time employees know a lot about how the organization runs and where it falters. By taking advantage of their operational knowledge, agencies’ leaders may not only obtain the intellectual foundation for the change, but also help gain the employee support needed for it to succeed.
Within the organizational change management strategy, a well-designed Communication Plan must be in place. The agency team should not only understand where the overall project stands, but they need to know exactly how their individual jobs are going to change due to the new system and processes. The plan should include a strategic external communication to the citizens, informing the constituents about anticipated benefits. By doing so, the agency creates accountability and the public perception may improve in regards to its accomplishments.
Finally, the organizational change strategy must be customized to fit the agency’s culture. Not all government organizations are the same and every agency may have a particular set of needs. Conducting an early risk and readiness assessment prior an ERP implementation determines the most appropriate strategy. It will also identify the root causes of resistance within the organization so organizational efforts can be better targeted.
For more information, visit www.panorama-government.com.
Most, if not all of us, have heard of Pavlov’s theory of classical conditioning. Pavlov used dogs to demonstrate stimuli and their responses. Here is a brief recap on what Pavlov found: there is a neutral stimulus (bell) which, by itself, will not stimulate a response—in this case, salvation. There is also a non-neutral/unconditioned stimulus (food) which will produce an unconditioned response (salivation). However, when you pair the neutral stimulus along with the unconditioned stimulus together, the dog will eventually learn to associate the two. After some time, the neutral stimulus alone will produce the same response as the unconditioned response (A.K.A. a dog drooling when they hear the bell).
While I am not here to talk about dog training, let’s associate this with a human element throughout organizations. When employees are introduced to their roles and responsibilities, it usually takes them some time to learn. They may learn that they have a procedure to follow on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. After time, these duties become part of a conditioned response.
However, when a company is trying to stay competitive, it may be time for a digital transformation or new ERP software. No matter what, this change causes disruption. If there is one thing most people do not like in their jobs—or even in their lives—it is change. You have been conditioned over a period of time to know what it is you are supposed to do. Even if this new software is going to make your life easier, it is still going to require changing the way you do your job and that can easily create resistance or, even worse, fear.
This is when you must do a mix of classical conditioning and counterconditioning. I know that this sounds strange, but you must countercondition your employees out of their old work habits and then classically condition them into their new ones. Sounds difficult? Well, it is.
The only way to alleviate these fears and to teach them their new duties is undergoing an organizational change management (OCM) initiative. The idea of OCM is to assess employees’ concerns, effectively communicate to alleviate those concerns, increase system usage via training on the new software, and, most importantly to a lot companies, maximize your ROI. While this can be a solid undertaking if you have never done this before, it can be done with the right help. This is not a job to simply assign to your HR. It must be done with extreme caution to not enhance the negative emotions employees are already experiencing. Somethings can’t be done overnight and this is one of them. It is going to be a process of training employees and allowing them to ask all of their questions to address everyone’s fears. This is a delicate process and is honestly a 100-percent necessity in all organizations going through a new initiative. Employees aren’t going to change simply because they are asked to.
You can’t expect to get a new puppy and have them to know all their tricks right away. It’s the same thing with humans. It takes time and training. Take a hint from Pavlov and get yourself some OCM.
It’s that time of the year again! You are glued to the TV every Thursday, Sunday and Monday rooting for your team. You’re making sure your players, offense and defense are playing up to par for your fantasy lineup. You notice that some team members aren’t paying attention to the correct calls, plays and/or coaching while on and off the field. This results in missed opportunities for improvement and overall attitude toward both the game and the team. When your organization is going through a business transformation project, it is vital to keep people and processes in mind as the technology will not make a significant difference without these two pieces in place. Communication within the organization regarding the change that is expected to occur and how it will benefit job roles in the long-run is crucial to success of the project for several different reasons.
Educate employees on best practices
There are similarities between football teams and organization’s employees when it comes to providing the proper education before the game or project kickoff starts. Without the appropriate knowledge of best practices and the overall game plan, employees or team players will start to feel negative about the process and will lack the needed participation. It is important to communicate about the change that is going to occur and the benefits that will result, while allowing every department the ability to express concerns, what they would like to see within a new software and some of their everyday pain points. This provides employees with the comfort that their opinions and ideas are important to the overall success of the project and will result in full adoption of the improvements ahead.
Practice makes perfect
Training of the new system is vital to the overall success of the implementation and start in the beginning stage of the project. Each employee’s understanding and speed of adoption will vary during training as each user’s technical background is different. Some users will respond better to certain types of training delivery methods which should be kept in account and thought out early on. Some of your NFL team players may retain information and perform the plays live in action while others might like to study the plays by paper initially. The preliminary groundwork for structuring OCM, training and communication activities can be determined through organizational readiness assessments and survey groups. Having a dedicated person for training per department is a good idea as new employees join the organization or current employees switch to new roles and need the proper educational training. Creating goals, plans and strategies will help keep all users motivated along with provide early adoption of the system and improved processes.
Achieving business benefits
A majority of organizations are in a hurry to select and implement a solution within a relatively short time frame. Unfortunately, this can end up sacrificing benefits and cause stress to the employees and the organization. When you rush through these projects and make decisions without the proper due diligence, there can be a negative effect on the employees. Often times, employees are kept in the background and are not aware of the changes. Rumors start and improvements aren’t made or adopted. Measuring business benefits is critical in determining whether or not your process improvements and newly implemented solution is coming to fruition. Some companies will claim that they have seen improvements with increased integration, productivity and minimizing manual and duplicate entries, but not have not measured the benefits. It is important to set goals, define your vision and implement a business benefits realization plan to define the overall return on investment and benefits that you will achieve.
Finally, it is important to stress the proper way to approach an organization’s employees or team players before making major changes throughout the organization or team. Having proper communication plans and buy-in from employees will ultimately create a positive outlook for the project which will help improve the organization’s overall success. It is significant to note that these projects aren’t just an IT initiative, but also contains human components such as organizational readiness assessments, communication plans, change impact assessments and other discussions that will be vital to the overall business benefits that will be obtained. In the end, happy team players and employees will help the overall atmosphere when these projects are in motion, creating a successful and completed game plan.