When it comes to implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, managers often believe that the most important part of the process is choosing the vendor and software suite that best fits their needs. This is extremely important, of course, but the argument can be made that even the best ERP software is borderline useless if the end user doesn’t understand how to operate it. Training your staff how to not only use but get the most out of ERP solutions should be a central focus, as only then will you be able to unlock your new ERP’s potential.
Fortunately, there are a handful of ways in which you can teach the finer points of ERP software utilization to your staff, across all departments—here are a few to get you started.
Start with a Thorough Explanation of “Why”
No matter what capacity someone works in at your company, you can rest assured that they don’t want to simply take orders without knowing why. Yet, scenarios like this play out in the business world all the time. Chances are your employees have been using whatever outdated systems you’re replacing for many years and have grown quite comfortable as a result. They’re probably not going to be thrilled about switching things up, so be sure to start the transition process with a thorough overview of why the company is switching to a cloud-based ERP and what the benefits—for everyone—will be. If you start early enough, you may even be able to empower your employees by involving them in the software search process.
Appoint a Designated Instructor
The old adage that a ship without its captain cannot set sail is undeniably true when it comes to implementing a new software suite. The lazy route to training employees how to use a new ERP is to send out a lengthy instructional memo, which will do nothing but cause increased dissent and confusion. Rather, you need to appoint a designated instructor who can work with your software vendor to develop a clear and actionable training plan, which can be held either in small group settings, one-on-one trainings or both. Be sure that the person tasked with this has taken the time to become a true expert on the ins and outs of your new ERP, as the only thing worse than a lack of education among your employees is miseducation.
Tailor/Mix-up Your Training Styles
While it would certainly be convenient if all of your employees learned at the same pace and in the same ways, this is asking for something that isn’t a reality. Some staffers will do extremely well with nothing more than a simple lecture, while others learn visually and can benefit from something like a slide-show tutorial. You may even have employees on staff that learn best when working and communicating with each another, which is where something like a discussion forum or chat box can come into play. In the end, your goal should be to get everyone on the same page about how to best utilize your company’s ERP—getting there may require a bit of creativity in terms of how you approach the training process.
Train Based on Specific Roles
Another important element of the training process that begs your attention is the fact that not everyone’s role with an ERP is going to be the same. A single training course can be helpful for outlining the basic functionality of your ERP at a high level, but when it comes to specific, deeper features, there’s no use in training someone on functionality they’re not likely to ever encounter. Training modules should be developed that are relevant to the needs and roles of your employees, which may come down to specific groups within departments.
Implementing ERP software can be a smooth process, but the end result will depend largely on how you train your staff. With a robust training plan in mind, you can find success without spinning your wheels.