Mitigating resistance to change in an ERP implementation.

Organisations evolve their business processes around the strengths and weakness of their business systems and employees. Generally at least one of the objectives of implementing an ERP solution is productivity gains. However it’s not the ERP itself that delivers these gains, rather it is the improved business processes that it enables.

Thus implementing an ERP inevitably means changing processes.  Apart from the potential for redundancy, this, from an employees point of view, can have a number of negative consequences and hence resistance to change:

  • Some people fear their jobs may be at risk, through not being able to understand the new system and processes, 
  • Workloads can shift, reducing for some employees but increasing for others. For example, the creation of customer records shifting from the back office to the front,
  • Employees can miss the ease of access and the customised nature of information provided by their adhoc systems, such as manual note books, Spreadsheets, etc. 

In other words, the gain for the many can come at the expense of a few.

Motivating staff to embrace and drive change.

While it’s pretty obvious that communicating the business objectives and selling the benefits will help. What’s not so clear is how to go about that. One way is to use the sales skills of your selected vendor. For reasons discussed in other blogs, having too many staff involved in the vendor selection process can be counter productive. However by making a presentation to your staff the last step in the selection process you can use the selection process to get the preferred vendor to sell the benefits, and hence motivate, your staff.

Having staff motivated to accept change makes it easier to gain acceptance of changing roles. However, training also plays a key role. While online video courses and classroom style training are cost effective, these don’t always address concerns specific to the individual. So if your team has one or more members that are resistance to change, then it your training budget may need to allow for some one one hand holding. In this case, part of your vendor selection process needs to determine whether the vendors training consultants have the requisite inter-personal skills and real world experience needed to work with change resistant staff.