- 11 January 2017
Once an ERP system is effectively integrated into a business, it’s time to focus on the task of training the employees who will use it. When implementing a new ERP solution, much of the focus revolves around the planning and go-live date; but most of the benefits come after the dust has settled, all implementation tasks are checked off the list, and the real test of time remains.
The long-term benefits of an ERP system depend on the ability of the employees to use it properly. For any business, post-implementation training is vital to a permanently successful transition.
Here’s a list of tips on how to get your employees up, running, and fully on board with the new system.
Make Training a Priority
If employees — and business owners themselves — don’t recognize the importance of ERP training, that investment can quickly become an unbalanced cost to the company. ERP implementations can be stressful, and that stress can weigh on productivity and engagement. Therefore, it’s important to explain to employees why the transition to an ERP system is important, and what value their training and participation brings to the company.
Make sure this importance is continually impressed upon each employee. Use company time for reviews, additional training sessions, and follow-up discussions.
Implement Varied Training Techniques
Every company and employee is unique in the way they do business and perform their job duties. Your employees’ learning preferences will likely vary, so your ERP training should as well. Without a varied number of techniques, training may not stick — and employees may quickly become disillusioned with a new system; reverting to old, untracked, manual processes.
Make time for practical training sessions, direct simulations, hands-on training activities, one-on-one mentorship, and self-guided practice.
Although it’s important to train everyone fully, the act of assigning champions (or “power users”) gives employees a point person in their area. This point person should be someone employees can go to with questions, concerns, and issues; someone exceptionally familiar with the part of the system they interface with most. This not only provides a core group of ERP experts in your company, but also helps each area of the business remain focused and loyal to the training cause. These core users can also identify individuals who are falling behind in training, or not adequately engaging in a new system — alerting you to any knowledge gaps that need to be filled with more training.
Assign one champion (or “power user”) in each area of your business, who will take charge of the knowledge of ERP for that specific area. Tell this person what you expect of him or her, and be sure the employee is prepared to help teach, and troubleshoot issues with fellow employees when necessary.
Record Wins and Readjust to Manage Failures
It’s important to recognize successes, and also to outline failures during the post-implementation training process. Recording and reviewing training accomplishments is a great learning experience. A company can re-watch and assess recorded trainings, to formulate future training; and keep up momentum throughout the company, by highlighting successes. As much as a review of successes can help bolster morale and enthusiasm, outlining failures can help provide an opportunity to readjust efforts and achieve a better return on training investments.
Review where success and failures have occurred in your training process. Use that insight to determine how the training process should be adjusted, to make the best use of time and energy.
Document the Processes
Creating redundancy is an enormous benefit to a business, and can help increase its market value. By having easy-to-follow processes and protocols, new employees can be hired and existing employees can be moved to new positions, without a significant loss of knowledge. Documentation expedites onboarding and knowledge transfer; and a recent ERP implementation makes for a great time to take on this task. You’ll want the documentation as you move forward with new employees utilizing ERP, and there’s no better time than the present to start taking down notes. All of your employees can help with this, as they learn. This exercise can also help identify where individuals may not be using the system correctly, where there may be bottlenecks, or where procedures could be better standardized between different groups of users.
Have employees and core users document their processes and interactions with the new system, and begin to build a reliable library of standard operating procedures.