Change is as inevitable in business as it is in life and yet, for many, it is hard to deal with and challenging to accept. Managing change is a vital part of your role as a leader, and can only be achieved through a combination of robust planning, engagement with your team, and buy-in from all the stakeholders involved.
You've already identified the need for an ERP solution, and the decision has been made by you and your management team to proceed with the implementation. Now, you need to decide how you will communicate this change to your broader team.
Getting this communication wrong can break your entire project; if your team feel threatened by the changes you aim to implement, don't fully understand what is happening, or feel threatened, then you are unlikely to succeed in your aims.
Bring your team, and other stakeholders, on board by making sure that you:
- Clearly communicate why you're making changes, and what the overall benefits will be for everyone affected;
- take time to have individual or small group conversations with your staff to address and allay any concerns; and
- act on any feedback that you get.
Be careful to consider the organisational culture you may have as it can affect how your staff will understand and perceive the changes you want to make, and your motivations for doing so. Within large organisations, you may want to consider hiring ERP consultants or contracting the services of a specialist employee engagement team, to ensure that you are able to meet the cultural needs of your stakeholders without compromising your ERP implementation plan.
Training & Engagement
It's not enough to simply offer staff a training session at the end of your implementation process and expect them to cope with an unfamiliar new system. Nominate an ERP project manager to ensure user training and engagement start early.
Consider holding a mix of training and engagement events, in a range of locations and styles. Make sure that you create an atmosphere where all of your team - at whatever level within your organisation - feel comfortable engaging in the change process, contributing ideas and expressing any concerns that they may have.
Outstanding training and engagement will not only help to ensure that your ERP implementation works, but it is the best opportunity that you will have to achieve buy-in from your team.
Identify Key 'Change-Makers'
Your key "Change-Makers" aren't necessarily senior managers or even team leaders. They are the people within your organisation who, once they are onboard with your change process, will help you to achieve buy-in from the rest of the team. Spend some time early in your implementation to identify who these change-makers are, and ensure they are provided with extra training and support, as well as the resources they need to provide support and hands-on guidance for their colleagues.
Changemakers who come from within your team will help you to achieve greater levels of engagement and confidence from your staff and help to smooth the process of implementing your ERP system massively.