No matter the size, age, scope or complexity of your business, ERP implementations are difficult. Even with many executives claiming their organization’s employees are “ready for change,” enterprise system deployments always create change resistance organization-wide.
Even though we’d all like to think that the pain of our decrepit legacy systems are enough to spur the desire for change – and in many cases it does – resistance kicks in and employees become aware of how complex and different the changes are. There are five common sources of this employee resistance, some of which has little to nothing to do with ERP systems, but still provide just enough fear and uncertainty to stimulate resistance:
- Fear of losing your job. Fear of losing one’s job is the root of much employee resistance to new ERP systems and processes. In many cases, the fear is unfounded and unlikely to happen, but that perception will drive resistance that may not have been apparent when everyone was praising the opportunities for improvement during the ERP selection process. A simple reassurance that employees’ jobs are not at stake is all it takes to quell this resistance.
- Fear of perceived diminished value to the organization. Even if employees do not fear losing their jobs, they may fear that they will no longer add the same value to the organization they once did. The person spending half of their time gathering data and putting together fancy spreadsheets for analysis is undoubtedly going to feel threatened if the need for that role no longer exists. An effective organizational change management plan is critical in addressing these concerns and helping them understand that while their role may change, their value to the company is not being undermined.
- Fear of not being in control of business processes and procedures. Employees often take pride in “owning” certain business processes and being the only ones that can perform those functions. Assuming a new ERP system will diminish the reliance on that one person – and in many cases, it will – they are going to resist the change.
- Dislike of standard, shared business processes. Other times, employees resist a migration to standard business processes. Perhaps certain employees like rolling with the punches rather than following standard processes. Or they value independence from “big brother” telling them how to do their jobs. Whatever the cause, this dislike of common and shared business processes across the organization is a very real and common source of resistance to change.
- Inability or unwillingness to accept change. Sometimes it is as simple as en employee’s unwillingness or inability to change. Remedial training can neutralize this source of resistance for the employee without the abilities or skill sets to embrace the change. In the case of simple unwillingness to change, it is unlikely that the employee will ever accept or support the change, in which case it may come time to sever ties with the employee. It either case, it is important to understand the root cause for the resistance and build an organizational change management plan specific to those root causes.
At the end of the day, employees of all types are likely to resist change on some level. Everyone from front-line, entry-level employees to senior management have their own motivations, fears and things that make them tick. By identifying the sources of resistance and building an organizational change management plan, you can addresses the various human elements that contribute to resistance.
Learn more by registering for our webinar, Five Key Organizational Change Management Challenges With ERP Implementations.