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Employees’ fears of change when implementing ERP

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Why is it so important to manage employees’ fear of change when implementing ERP?

Implementing strategical decisions (ERP implementation is one of them) means changes for employees. Employees should play an essential role in implementing changes, but they don’t always have enough information, support or encouragement to be able to deal with the changes and have an active, empowered role in strategy work.

The implementation process runs concurrently with the usual daily duties of the staff. As a result, employees who are involved in the ERP-system implementation, in addition to the main duties have to execute additional functions. Requirements of the company management do not decrease, and now employees are responsible for the execution of new duties under control of project manager.

Often managers do not coordinate the requirements for employees on deadlines of different activities. Independently employee is not able to prioritize tasks because he does not know what task is more important. For the additional work associated with the implementation of the ERP-system, employees sometimes do not get compensation. This creates a negative attitude of employees to the project implementation.

Most managers do not estimate readiness of their employees to the ERP-system implementation, so people with the insufficient level of qualification can be assigned to execute the project. Employees experiencing the fear associated with the fact that they quickly have to learn a huge amount of new information. All those fears are transformed into a negative attitude to the ERP system.

Employees’ fears may be associated with the uncertainty of the future situation after the project implementation. Uncertainty generates a large number of fears, for example: “Will we all get fired after the implementation of ERP-system?” or “We were told that because of this system we will work twice as much”. Such fears cause rejection of implementation project.

The new strategies must be communicated to employees so that they understand what the strategy means for their everyday work. Communicating strategy concerns not only the top management, but also a mid-level practitioner, and it cannot be one-way formal information but demands multilevel dialogue and interaction involving all personnel.

This is one of the keys to successful project implementation.

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