While ERP software comes with many benefits, it’s important to approach software selection with caution.
Why? Well, the way you communicate about the ERP solution during this stage can influence how the rest of your implementation unfolds.
Unfortunately, businesses have historically under-prioritized employee communication. In fact, according to one survey, only 7% of U.S. workers strongly agree that their workplace communicates accurately, openly, and on time.
Today, we’re sharing ERP communication tips that can help you highlight ERP benefits and secure employee buy-in.
Change Management Case Study
The client recognized their need for more comprehensive change management, so they asked us to fill in the gaps. We developed a robust communication plan to supplement the vendor’s communication approach.
5 ERP Communication Tips & Tricks
1. Create a Communication Framework
It isn’t enough to simply regurgitate facts to your team members and expect them to fully embrace the transition without any questions asked.
You need to take the time to structure your communications in a way that will help them understand and embrace the transformation. This means being intentional about the time you disseminate messages and the sequence in which you deliver them.
Don’t give your workforce too much information upfront, or you’re bound to encounter pushback. At the same time, you shouldn’t wait too long to provide certain information, or you’ll raise suspicions. It’s a delicate balancing act, but it can be achieved with a strategic communication plan.
What might this plan look like in action? Maybe you start by explaining the basics of the change and answering questions about why it’s necessary. Then, you share what it means to individuals, tailoring your message when speaking to different groups.
You may even use different mediums to relay your messages, leveraging emails, newsletters, town halls, and small group meetings.
Once your employees have internalized the need for change, you might shift the focus of your messages and start discussing the technical aspects of the solution.
2. Develop an FAQ Knowledge Base
Your project team members will do their best to answer employee questions and clear up any confusion about the ERP implementation. However, there might be other inquiries that arise, or someone might forget what they heard in a meeting weeks ago.
This is why it helps to establish a central FAQ knowledge base. Within this guide, you can address common concerns, share important technical details, and answer logistical questions.
You can choose to make this knowledge base readily accessible online, or you can print and distribute FAQ guides at critical touchpoints throughout the project.
3. Start Communicating Early in the Project Lifecycle
Don’t wait until you’re halfway through the project when there are already whispers at the water cooler. Talk about the ERP system as early as you can, and be as open as possible about the plans for the future.
By holding out until you’ve ironed out all the details, you’ll only raise concerns within your workplace. Even if you’re still establishing clear parameters for the project, you should at least have honest conversations with employees about the need for change and what your options include.
In fact, you appear more trustworthy and forthcoming by admitting that you don’t have all the answers but will update employees as soon as you do. By taking this proactive approach, you get to control the narrative around the project.
4. Don’t be Afraid to Reiterate
Don’t stress too much about communicating a bevy of new information in every meeting. With an organizational change as big as an ERP project, repetition isn’t a bad thing, especially when it comes to critical information.
By keeping your messages simple and repeating the important parts at regular intervals, you can make sure your employees remember key facts and timelines.
While it might start to seem redundant to you, that’s likely because you’re closely attached to the project. End-users aren’t as involved with the transformation.
5. Listen and Answer Questions
The most effective ERP communication tactics are two-sided. As important as it is to relay information about the project, it’s equally critical to listen to what employees are saying and asking.
Each employee brings their own specific viewpoints and concerns to the table. C-suite leaders want to discuss strategy, department leads are concerned with how the system will affect their workflows, and individual employees are wondering how their job roles will change.
To structure your conversations, focus on answering the most pertinent questions and addressing the most pressing needs. Why is the company changing, and what are the risks of standing still? What’s in it for each stakeholder, and how will the system impact them and their team?
Put These Tips Into Practice
You could have all the technical details of your project nailed down, but if you miss the organizational change management component, the project could fail.
Keeping these ERP communication tips in mind, aim to make every conversation as productive as possible. Answer questions, listen intently, and ensure everyone knows why you’re pursuing the change and what they can expect.
Our team of change management consultants can help you develop a communication strategy and plan. Contact us below for a free consultation.