Learning a new business software system is daunting, even to those with lots of previous experience in ERP Software implementations. How much more so, then, for someone who has perhaps only ever used one system, possibly for a decade or more?
That’s often the dilemna faced by the long-term employee of a small or medium-sized company that’s finally switching to more modern and up to date Inventory and Accounting software. The reasons for changing software, in addition to better management information and tools, usually include the ability to automate routine and largely manual tasks. That should benefit everyone. And yet, it’s often that very automation of routine tasks that most scares some employees. They will frequently perceive this is a threat to their job, sometimes subconsciously.
As a result, there are many instances of companies, having implemented a really good new system, still being held back (or limited) by time-consuming and potentially unnecessary manual processes, perpetuated at the insistence of those loyal, valuable but threatened employees.
An example of this would be a bookkeeper who continues to manually check the customer pricing on each invoice, even after the new system has been set up to default correct pricing, and even after several weeks of manual checking have not revealed a single error. In this real life example, the consequences of the delay in sending and posting invoices, sometimes for several days, include delays in collecting payments (and hence cash flow issues), and a lack of up to date sales and gross margin information for management.
So what’s the solution? Well, in my opinion it’s definitely not to fire said employees (at least, not unless that’s the last resort). Ownership / management needs to manage these people more appropriately, both during the software selection process and during implementation, so set their expectations, provide them with tangible positive benefits, and also to clearly spell out the expectations they must meet and the consequences of not meeting them. Then, post-implementation, management should follow up on managing those expectations. Where that takes place, even the most recalcitrant of employees usually comes around and turns into a happier and more productive member of the team.