IntroductionWhen it comes to business software, there's only one arbiter, the employee. They are the judge and jury, and they will determine just how successful your implementation is. So today we're going to look at making employees happy during a software implementation.
More often than not, employees won't judge the system based on the organisations needs. All they look at is how you've changed their job. Did you make it easier for them? Or are there now 5 extra clicks to do what once took 2 clicks? Or maybe that can no longer skip that section for that one client with the weird process. To combat this, we need to get personal.
Why it MattersGetting employees on board is critical. I've seen employees secretly continuing to use old spreadsheets, hiding it from their manager, or just taking note down on paper because they don't like the new system. And now instead of moving everything to a single system, you have information in all these different places and it's worse than before you started. Or sometimes it's as simple as employees getting frustrated, and they avoid tasks they don't like and nothing runs quite as smoothly. This is where change management becomes important.
Business as UsualThe way that I see most companies implement an ERP is to find all of the choke points slowing down their process, and start working through them from the biggest to the smallest to get the best bang for their buck. While this seems great what inevitably ends up happening is that you do a really good job at making some people's lives easier (because they have those time consuming jobs that are easy to automate) but you miss those people whose jobs aren't easy to automate, or who aren't a choke point in your current process. And while many times these people automatically get a win out of moving to Odoo, whether it be better access to information or a more defined workflow, sometimes it can be a sideways, or even a backwards step.
This is especially common when coming from spreadsheets. Moving to an online system can often feel sluggish, now every time you click you're loading a web page, and there's a little less flexibility in the system. And if there's no improvement in terms of the job that person does, the transition is nothing but a loss for them.
But if we want the system to be successful, we need to create a win for everyone.
It's Time to ListenTaking some time to look at the implementation in the eyes of as many employees as possible is an important step to getting their support in the changeover period. And here, communication is key. You really want to sit down and get some feedback from them regarding what they want from the implementation, and what their criteria for success is. This could be jobs that they dislike and want automated, jobs that are far too slow or repetitive, or tasks they would like to be able to do, but just aren't able to right now with the current system.
Personally, I like to have the ability to have direct conversations with different employees during the analysis period, but this can also be done by a project manager or other staff member in-house. The benefit of having a consultant do this is that I've often found that employees like to hold back from saying things or just don't realise some thing would be possible. Having seen what other people in similar positions have asked for, and knowing what's possible, we're able to suggest different features that the employee may be interested in, even if they hadn't thought about it. And the best part is that these are often solutions that already exist and will take less effort to achieve the win.
This process not only helps discover new requirements, but by getting employees involved in the process, and getting their input, they are more likely to feel connected to the project. Like is something that we're doing to help them, not just help the business. This can have a huge impact on the success of the project.