Getting Employees Onboard for Software Change

Mark Canes

One of the hardest barriers to overcome when making organizational changes (such as implementing a new inventory and accounting system) is getting employees on board with the changes.  Although resistance from employees is a natural reaction, there are certain steps that you can take as a manager to help ease the transition to a new software system:

1. Prepare for Resistance and Conflict

Being aware that resistance is a natural reaction will help you better prepare for and react to any push-back from employees.  Some employees may not realize the benefits of a true ERP system, or even what ERP stands for - especially if they have only ever worked with introductory software such as QuickBooks. To address this, hold meetings to introduce employees to ERP software, starting with the basics of understanding what an ERP system is and what it can do, and explain why the upgrade is necessary.

2. Clearly Illustrate the Need to Change & Communicate the Big Picture

Although this point might seem obvious, managers sometimes underestimate the understanding employees have about how a new ERP software system can benefit the business.  It can be hard to change to a new system if employees feel the old one is working fine. And there's often a fear factor when going into the "unknown" of a new system. Managers should discuss how a properly integrated inventory and accounting system will improve day-to-day tasks, and highlight the positive implications a system has on the future growth of the company.  Resistance from employees is less likely when it’s clear that the longevity of the business relies on new software.

3.    Involve Employees in the Process & Encourage Collaboration

During the early stages of the process, determine areas of frustration for those in the company using the current introductory system, and involve them in the decision process.  Work with employees to figure out system components that are imperative to them in doing their jobs, and get them to identify areas where there is room for improvement.  Encourage employees to use this as an opportunity to streamline their task load and work processes.

4.    Make Incremental Changes

Trying to implement a new system too quickly can cause many problems, and employees may feel pressured to learn a new system in an unrealistic time frame.  Start the process early and leave plenty of time between a decision and the Go-Live date, for planning, in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.

5.    Provide Resources to Support Change

Provide employees with necessary resources throughout the search and implementation process.  This includes proper training material, a channel where employees can directly express any concerns they experience with the new system, and support resources.

Although following these steps can help ease the transition of implementing a new software system in the workplace, you may still get uncooperative employees. In certain cases the employee may never be willing to make the change, and you may have to ask yourself if you’re willing to deal decisively with someone who stands in the way of implementing the system that you need.

For more information on making the change from introductory software, to a more robust system read our post: How to Replace QuickBooks.