While an ERP implementation can help your company streamline operations, your workforce might be hesitant to move forward. For some employees, the transition to new ERP software is relatively manageable, but for others, it is grueling. 

This is where ERP change management comes in. Companies across industries use organizational change management (OCM) tools and methodologies to ensure successful digital transformation. As they develop communication plans, resistance management strategies, and other OCM deliverables, these companies are able to successfully transition stakeholders from legacy systems and outdated processes to modern technologies and new mindsets.

Today, we’re sharing best practices to follow as you manage the human aspect of your ERP implementation. 

ERP Change Management Best Practices​

1. Hold Your Horses​

Is your organization really ready for an ERP implementation? While you might have strong feelings about replacing legacy systems, your employees may feel differently.

A change readiness assessment can help you understand the change initiatives that are already happening, while at the same time helping you pinpoint individuals who will be most impacted by the coming changes. 

For example, a healthcare provider might find that nursing staff is already overwhelmed by recent policy changes. Understanding this, the organization might develop targeted messaging that explains how the implementation will be phased to ensure that the rollout starts with administrative departments rather than nursing staff.

Our ERP consultants often use surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gather insights into an organization’s readiness. This not only helps in tailoring our change management approach but also in identifying potential champions who can drive the change among their respective departments.

ERP Training Plan Success Story

We helped this manufacturer implement an ERP training strategy to increase user adoption of its new ERP system.

2. Circle Up​

While you need the support of your C-suite to get your ERP project off the ground, they aren’t the only ones you’ll need to convince. From your top executives to your frontline employees, everyone should understand why the new software is necessary and the benefits it can bring. 

We recommend formalizing your messaging prior to ERP selection and using a variety of communication channels to disseminate it throughout the project lifecycle. 

Consider a manufacturing firm where production line workers are initially resistant to the idea of a new manufacturing ERP system. By hosting a hands-on workshop to show how the system could alleviate their daily challenges, such as reducing manual data entry, the firm might be able to increase buy-in among this group.

3. Equip Your Crew​

An effective ERP training strategy can go a long way in mitigating employee resistance. Beyond basic training, ongoing support and resources are essential for addressing challenges as they arise post-implementation. 

Whether pre or post-implementation, the key is to tailor your approach to each group. Customized training programs that address specific departmental needs ensure that all employees, regardless of their role, can navigate the new system.

Our organizational change management consultants frequently help companies broaden their training initiatives beyond the core project team. This ensures the training encompasses employees at all levels and departments impacted by the new system.

4. Keep on the Sunny Side

Celebrating the small milestones along your digital transformation journey can boost morale and foster a positive attitude towards the change. 

Recognizing achievements reinforces the value of the ERP system and acknowledges the hard work of your team. Whether it’s the completion of a successful training session, the first transaction processed through the new system, or a positive piece of feedback from a customer, taking the time to celebrate these moments can motivate your team.

5. Continue Assessing the Terrain​

Beyond just listening, you should actively seek out feedback at every stage of the ERP journey. This allows you to refine your change management strategy, ensuring the ERP system aligns with user needs.

We recommend using feedback channels, such as digital forums, focus groups, and direct reporting lines to the project team. Encourage honest feedback by ensuring anonymity where necessary and responding to feedback promptly.

After project completion, you should continue to solicit feedback so you can measure user adoption, identify areas for further training, and fine-tune the ERP system.

Find ERP Success Through Change Management​

Your project plan should go beyond technical activities to encompass the complexities of human behavior and organizational culture. By prioritizing ERP change management, you can successfully implement modern technology while ensuring it empowers decisionmakers with real-time insights for years to come. 

Ready to get started? Contact our change management consultants below for a free consultation.

About the author

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Panorama Consulting Group is an independent, niche consulting firm specializing in business transformation and ERP system implementations for mid- to large-sized private- and public-sector organizations worldwide. One-hundred percent technology agnostic and independent of vendor affiliation, Panorama offers a phased, top-down strategic alignment approach and a bottom-up tactical approach, enabling each client to achieve its unique business transformation objectives by transforming its people, processes, technology, and data.

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