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No matter the size or complexity of your organization, 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.

You’d think that the pain caused by legacy systems is enough to spur the desire for change among employees, but change resistance always occurs. Here are five common sources of change resistance:

  1. Fear of losing your job. Fear of losing one’s job is the root of much employee resistance to new ERP systems and business processes. In many cases, the fear is unfounded, but perception drives behavior. A simple reassurance that employees’ jobs are not at stake is all it takes to quell this resistance.
  1. Fear of 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 employees understand that while their role may change, their value to the company is not diminished.
  1. 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 who can perform those functions. If a new ERP system diminishes reliance on an employee’s processes, they are going to resist change.
  1. Dislike of standard, shared business processes. Sometimes, employees resist a migration to standard business processes. 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 source of resistance to change.
  1. Inability or unwillingness to accept change. Sometimes, change resistance is as simple as an employee’s unwillingness or inability to change. Remedial training can neutralize this source of resistance for the employee without the skill sets to embrace new processes.

At the end of the day, employees are likely to resist change on some level. Everyone from front-line, entry-level employees to senior management have motivations, fears and perceptions. By identifying the sources of resistance and building an organizational change management plan, you can addresses the various human elements that contribute to resistance.

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