How to Deal with Employee Resistance while Deploying new ERP Program

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ERP Program & Employee Resistance

The only ‘constant’ in business is ‘change’ and resistance to change is an inevitable event. Whether big or small, important or insignificant, management change or policy amendments, its basic human nature to oppose anything that is different from the usual routine. Deploying an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is one of the biggest change any organization can encounter. ERP solutions are known to build strong capabilities, improve performance, support better decision making, and provide a competitive advantage for businesses. They help the management by setting better business practices and equipping them with the right information to take proactive decisions. Though ERP brings about transparency for management in terms of finance, budget, time, resources and efforts, one significant problem the management faces is resistance from employees. Many implementations have failed miserably due to strong opposition from the employees. Non-cooperation, loss of interest and boycotts are the most common forms of employee resistance and the only way to tackle it is- an effective and planned ‘Change Management’.

If you are a business owner and treading on the path of ERP deployment, then this blog is definitely for you. Before we know the steps to adopt organizational change management, it is imperative to get to know the roots of employee resistance. The following can be the reasons for the opposition by the staff and labours:

  • Insecurity towards the new system– The ERP system based on latest technology and loaded with advanced features gives employees performance jitters. They fear that the new system might bring better results than the manual operations performed by them and sooner or later they might have to lose their jobs. In order to avoid such situations, employees form labour unions and refuse to cooperate or work.
  • Fear of much transparent system– There remains a huge scope of mistakes, manipulations, and errors when the operations are monitored only by manual supervision. Labours and employees enjoy this space and misuse it to cover their wrong deeds. With the advent of ERP, the internal transparency reaches the next level and room for manipulations vanish. This creates fear in the minds of employees that they might be caught soon and held responsible for the losses. Hence, naturally they develop a dislike towards ERP implementation.
  • Unwillingness to accept the change– Due to human psychology and default human nature, it’s simply that employees are just not ready to accept the change in the way they have been doing things for years or sometimes the entire lifetime. Therefore, they simply resist working in the new environment.

The best and the only way to overcome such resistance, businesses must adopt following ways to have a smooth transition from pre-ERP to post-ERP phase.

  1. Planning & Preparation is the Key– Before you take the plunge, everything from start to end should be well thought of and properly planned for a rewarding ERP implementation. This planning should also include estimating possible job role changes and preparing your employees for the same. Prior intimation and proper notice period make the blow less intense. A well-informed employee gets time to figure out alternatives and is less likely to play the blame game with the management.
  2. Employee Engagement is the Secret to Happily Ever After-It’s very important to get everyone on board. Before launching the ERP, it is essential that the entire organization from a manager to supervisor understands the need and the strategy behind the move. The objective of this major change should be clear with one and all so that resistance cannot prevail over the ultimate purpose of ERP deployment. Top management must ensure complete employee engagement to keep non-cooperation and resistance to change at bay, resulting into capitalizing ERP benefits at the earliest. The team must be made aware of the benefits it could bring to their working and also how they will also get groomed by working on it.
  3. Education, Training, and Support Lay Foundation for Change Management– Don’t let the communication gap between the implementation team and your employees poison the ERP implementation and defeat the whole purpose of achieving streamlined operational flow. The employees must be encouraged for complete involvement in terms of commitment and time for a successful knowledge transfer process. In order to make employees comfortable with ERP at a later stage, the management must organize dedicated training schedules and documented knowledge transfer for future reference. Promise your employees of solid post-implementation support by the vendor so that they start to trust the new system from day one. This way management can easily sidestep prominent resistance, probable technical difficulties and production halt later.
  4. Constant Communication Avoids Confusion and Rage– Communication between the originating and receiving end of the change can make or break the project’s success; therefore both top management and employees must participate equally and actively to reciprocate the thoughts and feedback on the ongoing process. Communication gap must be avoided by the Introducers of the change so as to get regular updates on the other side and diagnose if any issue detected.

Thus, by adopting above measures, one mitigates the unwanted impact of such significant industrial change. Following them not only bring smooth transition and much conforming employee set but also help to develop a cordial employer and employee relationship. If you have faced a similar situation and have any other ways to sail through change management then let us know in the comment box below. For more information on ERP contact us at https://www.batchmaster.co.in/ or contact us for more information on sales@batchmaster.com.