Potentially the largest contributor to successful end user adoption at the onset of an ERP project go-live can often be attributed to the effectiveness of the training. The best suited systems will struggle in actual practice if they are not adopted by and utilized by employees as they were designed. End user training can feel like a massive task within the organization. The challenge is often exasperated by those individuals tasked with providing the training, especially if they are not “trainers” by skill or education. As with most critical and complex tasks, the best approach is meticulous planning, completed well prior to the start of training events. Some considerations when you think through the planning approach are:
1. Training focused on the audience
Know the level of understanding of the individuals who are receiving ERP training, to ensure they are approached at the appropriate level. The approach to executive training is different than training of line staff for a given function. Ensure you are addressing the user on the topics of interest to them. Even when training on the same topic one size does not always fit all. Align your message, objective, content and exercises to the audience.
2. Keep it simple
One of the common mistakes in training is exposing users to information they do not need to know. You want users to understand the steps they need to perform and execute a process and the implications those actions have. However, end users do not need to know the inner workings of the system or processes that do not affect their use of the system to perform daily tasks. Stay focused on ensuring the user can perform their duties. Less is sometimes more, explaining configuration settings is not often necessary. Stay focused on “HOW,” and spend less time explaining “WHY.”
3. Iterative approach
As a training program evolves, ensure you consider incorporating the concept of incremental learning. Especially if the tasks or processes are complex, train using a traditional, level-based approach (i.e. 101, 201, 301), starting with foundational elements and simpler components and grow in complexity through additional sessions. At the start of each new session, ensure the prior training was understood through active testing/questioning so you can build on the educational foundation already trained on.
4. Hands on
Training means “teaching others how to do something,” therefore users must be “touching” the system as a part of the training to best retain content. Many Individuals learn best by doing. Users are also better able to ask questions when they are working through hands on instructional steps. Exercise-based training is very necessary and useful. Show the concept, then have the users perform the tasks. Execution also tends to seem much simpler and smoother when it is presented by an experienced trainer. Expect new users to want to walk through each small step or input to feel prepared and comfortable for live execution.
5. Training documentation
Training to prepare for an ERP implementation is often a series of specialized events preceding go-live. Keep in mind each organization has turnover and new staff will need training at some point in the future. Training should be recorded for future training of new employees and is critical to ensuring consistency of future training needs. Training documentation can include documented job aides and printed exercise-based training. Video/voice recorded training can also be very effective in getting new users up to speed quickly. The benefit of recorded training is that the content remains consistent. Taking the time to create training videos for the most frequently executed tasks or navigation can save time in the long run. When training documentation is created, ensure that it is well organized and accessible to employees as needed.
6. Support structure
Once users are trained, do not forget to provide them with contacts for on-going support and questions that arise when they are working in the new system. Video based training as mentioned above, can be a self-service support mechanism for users in additional to live support such as super users or trainers.
Training is a crucial portion of any ERP implementation and many of the clients Panorama works with on struggling ERP implementations say users did not receive adequate training. This does not always mean that the training didn’t take enough time, but rather the training was not executed in a way that ensured success. Consider the items we have listed to help prepare your team for training success or contact Panorama Consulting to help validate or design your new system training plan.