Money motivates. Or at least that’s what conventional managerial wisdom tells us. But although many executives still cling to this assumption, some executives are beginning to realize that nonfinancial incentives can be just as motivating (if not more so). Applying this wisdom to an ERP implementation can ensure that end-users quickly adapt to a new ERP system and that they are fully engaged in the learning process.

According to the Gallup Employee Engagement Index, 53% of the global workforce says they are disengaged at work. For organizations implementing ERP software, this number should be particularly disturbing. How will employees, who aren’t even interested in their jobs in the first place, come to embrace a new way of performing that job?

That’s a good question. Perhaps the first step is using nonfinancial means to encourage employees to see the importance of their job and the value of the new ERP system. While motivating employees with nonfinancial incentives can require more time and commitment than motivating with bonuses and pay increases, it is well worth the effort.

According to McKinsey Quarterly, the two most motivating factors for employees are praise from managers and attention from company leadership. Financial rewards tend to generate short-term enthusiasm but recognition and emotional support can build long-term engagement. The ERP project team should develop an organizational change management plan that addresses the importance of developing a collaborate organizational culture – a culture in which executives motivate employees by giving them the opportunity to be involved in special projects and offering them leadership roles. Executives should also make clear that they are available and willing to meet one-on-one with employees.

Bestselling author and relationship counselor Gary Chapman co-authored a book outlining different types of appreciation in the workplace. The book mentions five languages of appreciation, which include words of affirmation, acts of service, tangible gifts, physical touch and quality time. To demonstrate an act of service, for example, a manager might help employees learn a new business process or work with them collaboratively to master the new ERP system. In terms of physical touch, high fives, fist bumps and handshakes are appropriate ways for managers to show appreciation to employees who are willing and eager to learn new processes.

While organizational change management may seem unnecessary when your organization is trying to save money and time, employee disengagement can actually lose your organization significant revenue in the long run. Learn more by downloading our 2013 Organizational Change Management Report and registering for our free webinar, Organizational Change Management: A Critical (and Often Overlooked) ERP Implementation Success Factor.

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