If you’re considering implementing new processes or technology, it’s time to start thinking about how you will ensure employee buy-in.

Will you use organizational change management (OCM)? How will you build your OCM strategy? Today, we’re sharing the key components of an effective OCM strategy.

What is Organizational Change Management?​

When we talk about OCM, what do we mean?

Put simply, this is the process of looking at your implementation from the people’s perspective. Sure, the technology is exciting and new, but does it make your employees feel threatened? Do they know how to use it adequately and are they fully aware of the ways it can benefit them? Do they have lingering questions or concerns that are holding them back from fully embracing your project?

In the middle of an enterprise software project, it’s easy to focus on the technical details. While these are important, don’t forget to keep your workforce in mind. By delivering timely updates, listening to concerns, and actively seeking ways to help everyone feel more involved, you can mitigate future resistance and ensure successful user adoption.

OCM should be an integral part of any ERP implementation you pursue. By taking a proactive approach, you can help your employees navigate any type of emotion they feel toward the project, from initial hesitation to an outright refusal to proceed.

ERP Training Plan Success Story

We helped this manufacturer implement an ERP training strategy to increase user adoption of its new ERP system.

What Should be Included in an OCM Strategy?

It isn’t enough to simply talk about your approach to OCM. You also need a written strategy that outlines exactly how you’ll approach and manage this critical part of your project. Let’s look at the elements to include.

1. Organizational Readiness Assessment​

An organizational readiness assessment allows you to gauge the change resistance your project might trigger within your company. Even if a new technology, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) promises to transform your organization for the better, employees may be hesitant to embrace the new workflows.

When performing a readiness assessment, consider the following parts of your organization:

• The company as a whole
• Your employees
• Your sponsors and stakeholders
• Your organizational culture and history

Consider what impact the change will have on each group. Which parts are more likely to resist it? What steps can you put in place now to avoid issues down the road?

2. Sponsorship Plan​

Executive sponsorship can make or break OCM success. It’s a critical part of any successful ERP implementation project and should be a top priority in your planning phase.

While the two terms might sound similar, keep in mind that executive sponsorship is different from executive support. For the most part, support is verbal. Your C-suite leaders might say they agree with your initiative, but you need hands-on help to turn it from a vision into reality.

This is why sponsorship is necessary. As early as possible, create a roadmap that outlines how you’ll approach this step. The goal should be to not only achieve internal sponsorship, but to explain the benefits of the project to your executives so they can reach out to other stakeholders and decision-makers.

3. Communication Plan

When it comes to communicating a change, how and when you say something is just as important as what you’re saying. That’s why a communication plan should be a major part of your OCM strategy.

Relaying information one time isn’t usually enough. Instead, you’ll need to repeat key points throughout the project, reiterating them to make sure your employees, department leaders, and executives understand what’s going on.

In the beginning, you’ll focus mostly on the business case that’s driving the change. Later, as the work progresses, you can share more detailed updates.

4. Different Levels of Training​

When employees understand how to use a new system, they’re more likely to adopt it once it’s live. Often, resistance is rooted in fear and uncertainty, which could lead to ERP failures.

Training helps alleviate these concerns. There are two main types of planning that should be included in your OCM plan. These include:

• Change management training: Teaches managers how to drive change within their departments
End-user training: Teaches employees how to use the new system and navigate new workflows

By focusing on the educational component of your change, you can often cut resistance off before it occurs.

5. Resistance Management Plan

While the steps above can help curtail resistance, the reality is that it can still occur. When it does, you need to have a plan in place to mitigate it as soon as possible. One loud voice of dissention can be enough to instill fear and uncertainty into your entire workforce.

Within this plan, identify the steps that you will take to understand and proactively manage resistance across your workforce. Each team leader should be aware of this plan and know how to implement the steps in their own departments.

6. Reinforcement and Results Management

Change management doesn’t end when your systems go live. After the change is implemented, you need to know how it’s going. Establish a plan that allows employees to share their feelings on the change.

Then, review this feedback and incorporate suggested changes where feasible. At the same time, it’s also important to acknowledge instances of positive change adoption and reward those behaviors.

Create an OCM Strategy for Your Implementation Project​

Before you begin any type of enterprise-wide implementation, take the time to create an OCM strategy first. While it’s important to focus on the technical aspects of the project, you never want to gloss over the human aspect.

When employees feel educated, well-informed, and prepared for the changes that lie ahead, they are less likely to resist them. By focusing on change management now, you can lay the groundwork for every other phase of your project to fall into place.

Our team can help you create a strong OCM strategy that works. Contact an organizational change management consultant below for a free ERP consultation.

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