It Is Critical to Involve All Employees in an ERP Implementation
Employees’ level of involvement in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is a make or break moment. An ERP system is like the central nervous system of a business, efficiently managing and streamlining the business’ processes. Most of a business’ data resides in the ERP system, providing the business with a single source of knowledge. In order to make the system work, an organization must integrate and automate various business functions, such as finance, manufacturing, and human resources, into a single system. ERP implementations not only affect business operations and structure, but can change the very culture of the organisation long-term. It’s a big deal.
Done poorly, ERP implementations can destabilize an entire organisation, leading to high employee turnover and a loss of customers. When done properly, it results in improved agility, increased productivity, and reduced costs. To effectively implement an ERP across the entire organisation, all employees and departments must coordinate and buy into the process. Your employees’ involvement in a procedural overhaul is pivotal to the overall implementation process.
Why Involve All Departments and Employees?
Involving all departments and employees in the ERP implementation process is critical for several reasons:
- Holistic View – Each department and employee has a unique perspective on how the ERP system can improve their specific work processes. Their input is essential for developing a bird’s eye view of the organization’s needs and how each element functions within the whole.
- Ownership – It is vital that all employees ‘own’ the implementation process. Not only will this lead to higher degree of acceptance and adoption of the new system, but it will allow employees to adapt the system to their own individual needs. Having them buy into the process will also increase morale. Research has shown that employees will have a higher level of job satisfaction and organisational commitment if they believe they can participate in decisions and plans that affect them (Lawton-Thesing, 2020). Show your employees how their involvement is critical to the organisation as a whole.
- Improved Communication – Transparent communication is key to a successful ERP implementation, and involving everyone ensures that there is a clear understanding of the goals, objectives, and progress of the implementation. Be clear throughout the process, from the reasoning behind decisions, to how the change may affect your employees’ role and their day to day functions.
- Better Training – By involving all departments and employees, you can identify training needs and customize the training program to meet the specific needs of each group.
- Better Problem-Solving – Involving all employees increases the chances of catching potential problems and challenges early in the process and finding solutions before they become major issues.
How do you involve all departments and employees in the ERP implementation process?
- Create a team of representatives from each department: Appoint representatives from each department to serve as a liaison between the implementation team and the department. The representatives should know the ins and outs of their department’s processes and should be able to communicate effectively with both their department and the implementation team.
- Communicate actively and frequently: Be sure to openly and regularly communicate with all employees about the implementation process, including the goals, objectives, progress, and challenges. Using multiple channels of communication is a good way to ensure that employees are informed and engaged in the process.
- Provide continual training and support: ERP implementations can often involve some form of job redesign to streamline human processes with the new system. Providing comprehensive training and support to all departments and employees will ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to use the new system effectively. The training will assure employees that their contribution to the organisation is valued and that they have job security. Customize the training program to meet the specific needs of each group and provide ongoing support and guidance as needed.
- Encourage feedback: No system functions perfectly the first time round. Give your employees opportunities for honest input and create spaces for dialogue. A shared journey of the process is key to ERP implementation success.
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