Organizational change management is a critical part of any enterprise software implementation.

Without it, your employees will become confused and frustrated, which lowers morale and productivity. 

That said, don’t jump head-first into a change initiative. Instead, commit to taking a more structured approach, using proven processes and tools. Additionally, you should make sure you have the necessary resources in place, including a change management team that can lead the effort. 

What is change management? It is the process of looking at the human side of a project.

Today, we’re sharing an organizational change management checklist to help you get started and make sure you’re covering all your bases. 

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.

Your Organizational Change Management Checklist

1. Conduct a Change Readiness Assessment

Before you even introduce a change, you should make sure your organization is ready for it. 

A readiness assessment analyzes where your company currently is and where it’s heading. Conducting this assessment can help you predict the level of resistance a change may generate.

When assessing change readiness, we recommend taking several different factors into account:

  • The enterprise-wide organization
  • Your employees
  • Your company culture and history
  • Stakeholders and project sponsors

A change readiness assessment is about asking pointed questions that can help you steer your workforce in the right direction. 

2. Develop a Communication Strategy

Inadequate or inconsistent communication is one of the top reasons for ERP failure. If you want to avoid this fate, make sure your employees understand the purpose and nature of the change from the very beginning.

This requires a strategic communication strategy that includes talking points for individual stakeholders. One of the most important talking points to include is, Why is new ERP software necessary, and what risks would the company incur without it?

As the project progresses, you can elaborate and share more details. Each time you share an update, be sure to consider the audience, message, and timing to ensure each message is personalized.

3. Create a Sponsorship Roadmap

Without executive sponsorship, you’ll struggle to allocate the right amount of time, money, and resources to your ERP implementation

Keep in mind that active and visible sponsorship differs from passive support. Your C-suite can claim to “support” your project, but that’s much different than taking a hands-on approach. 

Ideally, executives should support the project with more than just their words. In fact, they should be so involved that they manage to build a network of project support that includes various stakeholders and decision-makers.

Your role is to help executives build this network by developing a sponsorship roadmap outlining how you will communicate with executives and how these executives will communicate with stakeholders.

4. Proactively Manage Resistance

It’s natural for employees to display some level of resistance when new processes or technology are introduced. Usually, this resistance has little to do with the actual solution you’re implementing.

Rather, it’s driven by your company culture and the amount of misinformation swirling about. When a digital transformation turns into a game of Telephone, employees become distrusting, unsure who to believe. 

While many organizations address this resistance as it arises, we recommend creating a resistance management plan early in your project. This plan should outline the steps required to identify, understand, and ultimately manage resistance in every department.

Once this plan is in place, make sure to empower departmental leaders to use these strategies within their teams. 

5. Conduct End-User Training

Another reason employees might resist a change is because the new system might seem too complex or technically daunting.

Does your change management plan include thorough end-user training? If not, this item on our checklist might save your implementation.

However, don’t just throw it on your to-do list without considering the effort involved. Instead, add it to your project plan using the right amount of detail – How many resources will we need? How long will it take? What will we do to customize training sessions to be applicable to employees’ unique roles and responsibilities?

6. Establish Reinforcement Mechanisms

A change management plan isn’t finished once the technology is implemented and the project is complete. Rather, there should be safeguards in place to ensure that employees continue to use the ERP system long after the go-live date. Otherwise, they could revert to their old practices. 

We recommend establishing reinforcement mechanisms that will encourage employees to stay the course. For example, you might consider recognizing and rewarding individual employees who act as project sponsors. 

7. Manage Project Results

It isn’t enough to simply say that organizational change management is “going well.” You need specific metrics to help you benchmark success and measure progress. 

Some examples of questions you may want to ask include:

  • What business benefits have we realized so far?
  • How close are we to achieving our key performance indicators (KPIs)?
  • What percentage of our workforce is currently using the new system?

As you measure results, be sure to develop new strategies that will help your employees embrace change in the long term. This continuous improvement mindset will turn change management into a core competency within your organization.

What’s in Your Change Management Plan?

If you’re missing any components from this checklist, it’s time to revise your change management plan. Most ERP projects require all these components regardless of how “ready” executives believe employees to be.

Our change management consulting firm can help you assess your ERP vendor’s project plan to understand where you might need additional change management activities. Contact us below for a free consultation. 

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