Importance of Effective ERP Training for Employees
ERP Software (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a key feature in business today in terms of not only improving the effectiveness of operations but also increasing control and profitability. Many companies, falsely, believe that the costs of acquiring such an ERP system begin and end with the actual product, and that employee ERP training is an optional extra and that employees will ‘learn with time’. The reality is starkly different and end-user employee ERP training is in fact critical to the success of an ERP software implementation. According to ERP Experts Online Forum in 2012, “ERP is 90% about people, process, culture and politics and 10% about IT. Misunderstand that, and you are heading for failure.” Below we discuss some of the benefits of sufficient investment in employee ERP training.
In something that is often seen as the exclusive remit of the IT department, ERP system implementations in fact are a company-wide initiative because it changes and impacts the way that virtually every department works. It takes a real inter-departmental effort to firstly get the system ready by loading and importing the correct data and ensuring systems, but also to ensure that the system is able to go live from day 1 effectively. Thorough and early training of employees in the new ERP software helps to mitigate data entry errors in the set-up process, but also helps prevent errors as the system is deployed for daily use and end-users are required to work on it in their daily jobs. Less time is spent on trouble-shooting fixing errors and overall productivity is increased as trained end-users are much faster at using the system than their “learn on the job” counterparts. All of this saves both time and money.
Many firms delay training employees until the software is fully installed and functioning on the firm’s hardware, however, this can cause major upsets to productivity at go-live, as suddenly employees are expected to do tasks they are not prepared for, while still trying to maintain a business momentum- and it is usually business productivity that suffers as staff struggle to get to grips with their new requirements. Sufficient training up-front mitigates much of this risk. Equally, if your employees are not utilising an ERP system because they do not understand it, or they do not see the bigger contextual need for it, you are not going to see the real ROI (return on investment) on your new ERP software. Sufficient and thorough training of your employees ensures that your staff make full use of the ERP software, not just a cursory box-ticking exercise, and it is in that way the full benefits of your new ERP software will be felt in the business.
Less Change Resistance
People are often change-resistant, and in any society, people often protest at having to change the way things are done. A business environment is no different. Staff, especially those not on the IT side of the business, often do not understand the need for a system update or change, and can only see the “extra work” or effort required of them by the change. Employee ERP training is vital here to help employees see the big picture of the improved efficiency, as well as to see the benefits that the software will have on the efficiency of their own work and jobs. When a greater understanding of the business context is achieved, and when staff is properly trained, anxiety and confusion are greatly mitigated. This, in turn, helps to make sure there is the required company-wide support for the project needed to make the ERP implementation a success and helps to maintain employee morale and positivity.
With the proper ERP training for your employees, you can save time and money, make employees more productive and less resistant to the change, lower the chance of errors and realise a better return on your ERP software investment. When your staff understand the base ideology of the ERP software, and also the great benefits the software has for their own jobs and the whole company- there is a much greater chance that your employees will work together to achieve a great implementation. Although it can sometimes seem that ERP employee training is just another added cost item on the bill, it is in fact a vital factor in the ultimate success of any ERP implementation. The money and time spent against training are more than compensated for by the long term return on investment of an ERP system being used effectively and to its full potential.