Does ERP software play a role in boosting employee engagement?

Ilmie Sham Ku

As a business owner, you spend a lot of time thinking about ways to improve your profitability. Providing additional services, improving customer satisfaction and reducing costs all take the lead when it comes to strategic business planning. But have you considered the state of your employees? How committed are they to company objectives? Do they value your customers? And, why should you care? For those of you who are also wondering what ERP software has to do with any of this, we’ll get to that shortly... but first, consider this quote from Former CEO of Campbell’s Soup, Doug Conant

“To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.”

These words hold true for many businesses today that are discovering a direct correlation between customer satisfaction, profitability and employee satisfaction in their work. Simply put, when employees are engaged, they are more productive and willing to go the extra mile resulting in increased customer satisfaction and profitability.

So, how can you create a sustainable foundation for employee engagement for your business?

It is crucial to provide your employees with the right tools, resources and training needed to do their job well and in turn, provide customers with the services they expect.  When employees are confident in their tasks, the more enthusiastic and inspired they are to put in the extra effort that will help set your business apart from the competition.

This is where Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software comes into play. With the right ERP software, you are able to take a more employee-centric view of your workforce taking into consideration the entire ecosystem of your business from your accounting and sales teams to warehouse managers and operation teams.  A sophisticated ERP system will improve processes and workflows throughout a variety of departments. Employees will feel empowered and confident with the capability to:

However, it is also important to keep in mind that the key to achieving employee engagement is in selecting the right ERP package for your business and then successful implementation and training.

Before you implement a new solution, consider the following:

Employee Buy-In 

Before you invest in ERP software, it’s important to sell the value of a sophisticated ERP system to your team. At the end of the day, it is your employees that will be using the software so you need to get them excited and help them understand the impact and benefits a new system will have on their day-to-day tasks.

Paint a picture of the benefits of ERP at a granular level. Illustrate how the software will impact day-to-day tasks— sales teams can easily look up inventory information and create orders for their customers, interacting more effectively with clients, warehouse employees can easily track down product with bin and shelf labelling, and accounting personnel can automate the accounts receivable process (to name a few). Clearly defining how employees' roles and functions will be enhanced with software will build confidence and encourage employees to adopt a new way of completing tasks.

Break Old Habits

It's important to evaluate existing processes and roles during the ERP software search to address any pain points or concerns employees may have adapting to a new way of tackling tasks. For many, a multi-purpose system will be a welcomed implementation, however, others who are used to doing things a certain way may need a bit more convincing. Sometimes employees may be concerned that a new system will lead to the loss of their job, so it's important to let employees know that they don't need to worry. Challenge employees to think about why they’re performing tasks in a certain manner. Is it because it’s the best way, or because that is the way it has always been done? For example, you may ask employees if they’d rather spend hours manually entering data into Excel sheets, or if they want to automate data exports.  Let them know you’re there to meet their needs, make their lives easier, and improve their satisfaction in their work.

Change Management Guide

And lastly, one of the most important steps…

Training, Training and More Training!

ERP software training is vital for the success of the implementation and overall satisfaction of employees using the software. The better trained and confident your employees are with the system, the more use they’ll get out of it.  If employees are confident in their ability to use the software, it will also motivate them to continue to find ways of using the software to further automate processes and increase productivity. Proper training reduces costs, saves time and decreases human error resulting in employees having time to concentrate on skill acquisition which improves job satisfaction.