That was a rhetorical question. In truth, it’s an oxymoron. Organizational change management is anything but sneaky.
The introduction of a new ERP system should never feel like an ambush by a hawk – employees need a bit more advance notice than that. With adequate warning and preparation, your employees won’t feel “eaten alive” by your new ERP system.
Think of an ERP implementation as more like a whale – it’s approach is felt long before its within sight. With a call at 188 decibels, blue whales can be heard from many miles away. Similarly, the decision to implement a new ERP system, should be announced many months in advance. Your project team and your executives need to communicate the right message at the right “volume” to adequately prepare employees for the “whale of an ERP system” that is coming their way.
While many organizations understand the importance of organizational change management, few understand how to develop a plan that effectively prepares employees for change. If your organization wants to minimize the effects of employee resistance, read on.
One aspect of an organizational change management plan is the communications strategy. Employee buy-in depends on the timing and nature of your communication. In terms of timing, communicate early and often. In terms of the nature of your message, be sure it is clear and purpose-driven – what does your organization hope to achieve by implementing new ERP software?
Another important aspect of an organizational change management plan is the training strategy. While ERP vendors provide decent “out-of-the-box” training, it isn’t specific to your organization’s business processes. Employees should receive multiple rounds of both technical and process training that pertains to their specific functional area.
Obviously, this is a broad overview of a full organizational change management plan. Other essential components include organizational readiness assessments, change impact assessments, key performance indicators and workforce transition plans. Together, these elements will mitigate risk and make a noticeable impact on your ROI.
A Hawk’s Organizational Change Management Methodology
- “Change management is too expensive. Let’s throw it out.”
- “Oh, by the way, we’re going live with a new ERP system in a couple weeks.”
- “Reasons aren’t important.”
- “No one needs to like the system. We just need to use it.”
- “Address your complaints to . . . the trash can.”
A whale is actually a pretty appropriate metaphor for an ERP implementation. This project may be the BIGGEST undertaking your organization has pursued in a long time. It makes sense that your communication needs to be equally astronomic.