“I’m a rock star! I can pump out 30 reqs in under 40 minutes, no one has those numbers.” 

“No one can do what I do, I perform ten unrelated activities and I don’t even sweat.”

And of course, “If it wasn’t for me this place would crumble.” 

Everyone has heard these–or similar–phrases before. Many times people feel as though they need to validate their worth and efforts that they put in on a day-to-day basis. They feel the need to talk about the expertise they have accumulated over the years they have been “perfecting” their profession. However, it is important to remember that given enough time, even the most inefficient or tedious tasks can become quick and comfortable.

I recently visited an organization going through a software implementation, a user was growing irritated about the tasks required of them. Some of the complaints I heard was that the new processes were “slow,” “clumsy” and that they “seemed to require more steps to perform the same action” that they had to do previously. Now to back up, historically, billing invoices are a touchy subject. The process needs to be quick and intuitive, yet needs controls in order to receive all of the critical information. The user was seeing his new task as slower and felt that this “new” software was only going to make them less efficient with their time. They wanted to go back and use the “old way.”

In relaying the benefits to the new process, my words were falling on deaf ears. The user wasn’t seeing an extra step as a data validation measure resulting in increased quality control, they simply saw it as “more steps.” The user was uninterested in conveying the order information in real-time to the order takers in the back because it takes him or her ten seconds to go back to look over the details with them. The user doesn’t see the high level process requirement that mandates the user to source the customer as valuable. It was seen as one more useless question that slows down their commission rate in a high volume service industry.

While it may not be required, it is good practice to let the user know of the advantages they will see with the new software/processes. Of course, this type of persuasion and buy-in should have been done before the implementation process in organizational change management, but a few small things can help to stem the tide:

  • They will become just as fast in short order
  • Previous data mistakes, while easy to fix, will become less frequent so they can focus on what they do best
  • Manual reporting tasks will become less frequent as managers realize they can see this data themselves

There seems to be an assumption that if the employee is not racing around “looking busy” then there will be no need for them in general.Typically, client-facing staff is valued for their interaction with people/clients, not their propensity for accumulating tasks. The user will get up to speed and acclimate to the new process. Given enough time, almost everybody does.

Written by Travis Neill, ERP Consultant at Panorama Consulting Solutions. 

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