Whether you’re implementing a new ERP system or simply updating your business processes, any type of change can be jarring to employees. Even if the new systems will ultimately make their jobs easier, it can be difficult for employees to anticipate these benefits when a change is first announced.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make the transition a little easier. Today, we’re sharing how to prepare employees for change so you can maximize user adoption rates, mitigate resistance, and ensure a healthy ROI on your project. 

6 Tips for Preparing Employees for Change​

1. Take an Individual Approach

It’s never a good idea to rush into any type of organizational change. Doing so can set your project up for failure, because you’re not taking into account the most important part of the project: individual employees.

Organizational change management (OCM) is personal. It’s an approach based on the notion that transformational change only happens when individual employees know how to use the new tools and understand what they have to gain personally. 

Taking a widescale approach to change can leave many members of your workforce feeling ignored. Take the time to consider how each employee will be impacted by the change and how they might react to it. Then, plan your approach for eliminating change resistance, so you’re prepared to communicate with employees one-on-one and address their concerns. 

If even one employee refuses to get on board, it can have a domino effect. Your downstream processes depend on the collective effort of your workforce, and one detractor can make a major difference. 

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.

2. Prioritize Communication

Communication is, of course, key in any OCM initiative. The more informed your employees feel, the more comfortable they will be embracing the change.

When it comes to change management, it isn’t just what you say, but how, when, and where you say it that counts. Simply relaying information doesn’t consider how much fear and hesitation your employees might be feeling.

We recommend considering the setting you’ll be communicating in. Make sure it’s one that will make employees feel comfortable. Also, think about how you can time your message to ensure listeners are as receptive as possible.  

Within your communication plan, account for how you’ll tailor your message when speaking to different types of employees. The talking points you use when speaking with your C-suite will differ from the ones you’ll use with your department leaders.

3. Involve Employees Where Possible ​

There will be certain employees who will be against the change from the beginning, so look for ways to include these employees in the change. 

For example, you can include them in the requirements gathering stage of the ERP selection process. 

Simply feeling included can help would-be naysayers connect more to the project. It also helps establish a culture of trust throughout your organization, which naturally makes change easier.

4. Explain the “Why”

Ambiguity can lead to distrust. If employees don’t understand the reason behind the change, they’re less likely to support it. 

Often, employees resist change because they aren’t completely sure why their current processes need improvement. To them, work might be going well, which leads them to question why a transformation is necessary. 

This is why it’s important to explain the catalyst behind every change. Are there siloes or roadblocks that are hindering productivity? Has certain technology become obsolete? Do you need to improve your strategies to stay competitive, keep up with market trends, and meet new customer needs?

5. Provide End-User Training

Sometimes, what looks like resistance might just be apprehension and confusion.

Training can ease these worries. When employees feel capable and empowered, user adoption rates increase, and downtime is less likely.

End-user training sessions should be customized to each learner group, so employees can focus on the functionality they’ll use the most in their day-to-day tasks. 

We recommend allowing time for questions after each training and scheduling refresher sessions even after the go-live date.

6. Focus on Follow-Up Change Management

Once your new ERP, CRM, or SCM system is live, don’t assume your employees will automatically adopt it.

It’s important to schedule meetings and one-on-one follow-up sessions to learn how they’re adapting to their new workflows.

Also, you should set key performance indicators (KPIs) early in the project so you can quantifiably measure success during the post-live stage. 

Inevitably, you will have to reinforce the change. This might mean collecting feedback and auditing compliance. If you find that a particular employee or group of employees isn’t adopting the new technology, try to identify where and why those gaps might be occurring. 

Then, take steps to get them on track. If they’re not 100% confident on how to use the system, schedule additional training. If they’re hesitant for other reasons, schedule follow-up meetings to understand why.

Learn How to Prepare Employees for Change the Right Way

The people side of a change is even more important than the technical side. If your workforce isn’t willing to use your new ERP system or supply chain management system, then it doesn’t matter how sophisticated or feature-rich it is. 

When you know how to prepare employees for change, you can put steps in place to ensure maximum user adoption.

Is it time for your team to learn how’s it done? Our change management consultants can guide you through the OCM process, and our ERP implementation consultants can help you integrate OCM into your overall project plan. Contact us below for a free consultation.

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