Implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is no easy task. Depending on which solution you’ve picked, the size of your organization and other contributing factors, an ERP project could take weeks or months to complete. Either way, it’s a company-wide project you want done successfully on the first try, otherwise you’re left dealing with future complications.
A common misconception is that once the new system is programmed on the computer, the ERP project is completed. This is far from the truth. What comes next is training your IT staff and employees on how to use the new system.
To start, be careful about when you choose to train your employees about the new ERP. Train them too early in the project stage, and the staff may forget what they’ve learned and lose momentum. Train them too late, your team will be unprepared and project delays will occur. It’s important to train end users so they are ready to use new processes on day one.
You can combat this issue by involving your employees with the ERP implementation project from start to finish, coaching them along the way about specific software capabilities and/or ways to use it to the best of their ability. Keeping your employees engaged in this way promotes a culture of continued learning that will keep them motivated. An engaged workforce will also make your ERP project smoother, and protect the company from any issues or system breakdowns from lack of user knowledge down the road.
Another tip is not to think of your training as a one-size fits all approach. Most ERP users will need to understand how the new system will work in only the context of how it affects them in their respective jobs. Because of this, your employees in different departments require different levels of user support depending on their existing experience and respective job roles.
Customize the experience
Tailoring your ERP training can support the needs of individuals in different departments within your organization. This ensures that each department is 1. receiving the right amount of support and 2. helps ensure time and resources aren’t wasted on intensive training that otherwise may not have been needed.
We understand that something as big as an ERP implementation can be overwhelming, especially for your employees and for those who know little about ERP systems. For this reason, you may want to consider hiring extra staff or IT experts who can take on the role of project manager or make up an ERP implementation team. By doing so, your employees don’t have to necessarily worry about the implementation stage per say, only how to use it once it’s implemented.
Of course, if you have employees with ERP experience already, you can just assign them as project managers. This way, they require less training, there is no need to outside hire, and these “super-users” can help with training those who have zero experience with the system. This also fosters an environment for leadership and growth opportunities within an organization since top performers are recognized.
Don’t forget to keep an open mind for feedback. This may be one of the most important parts of ERP user training. Since end-users will be the sole operators of the new system, encourage system feedback so any and all improvements can be made to the new system. For instance, if the user interface is complicated and hard to interact with, it will deter employees from using it. You want to make sure it lives up to everyone’s standards so that your employees can feel comfortable with it.
Looking for more? Download our ERP Buyer’s Guide for free to compare the top 24-ERP software vendors head to head! The guide also includes 4 key capabilities to consider while selecting a new ERP solution and 10 questions to ask yourself and the software vendor before purchasing.
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