Address and Manage User Resistance
Modern manufacturing and distribution businesses are constantly disrupted by technological advancements. In this way, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a competitive advantage without incorporating enterprise software; however, it’s an unfortunate reality that your software implementation project team will spend too much time managing internal user resistance to the new system.
There’s no question that many people just don’t like change, but it’s also a fact that change is inevitable. Throwing a new software system at your employees is likely to bring about some discomfort and resistance.
That’s why we will examine the factors that contribute to change resistance as well as ways to mitigate change resistance in this post.
What Factors Contribute to User Resistance?
User resistance will fall into two categories: active and passive. Active resistance occurs when your employees openly ask why you brought the software in and talk to one another about their dislike for the new system. Passive resistance, on the other hand, is a little more difficult to spot and occurs when users pretend to be happy with the new system, but neglect to use it when you’re not around. The following are factors that contribute to why your team is resisting your software:
- Workflow Interactions: The work isn’t the same with the new system, meaning their existing processes are being disrupted by the new system, and they might be threatened by the redistribution of work responsibilities. Fear that they don’t have the appropriate skills to operate the new system will translate into resistance.
- System Dissatisfaction: If the system is difficult to use, resistance is extremely likely. So, if your project team didn’t select the best software fit for your business process, users will quickly pick up on the software’s lack of compliance with current business operations and henceforth neglect to use it.
- Politics and Power: If your employees sense a shift in the power and politics in your organization, this could be cause for user resistance. For example, the disruption of leadership may be seen as a threat that causes internal struggles.
- People: Your employees may have existing biases or may feel excluded in the change process causing resistance to the new system.
So how can your project team do to mitigate user resistance?
Exhaustive training is critical to a painless transition into your new software. Comprehensive training allows you to not only teach end-users how to adequately operate the new system but also answer questions and alleviate some of the anxiety associated with the new system.
Each department will need extensive training, and everyone will need a myriad of training sessions before your software go-live date. Plus, we recommend continuing with training even after the software is live. That way, if issues arise, you can address and mitigate those problems.
Moreover, if you train your employees that are your business’s natural leaders first, they are likely to help the rest of your users come around to the new system, making the process simpler.
Involve All Affected Departments in the Selection Process
Ideally, you will include employees from various departments in the software selection process. In this way, your employees will feel ownership over the software based on their inclusion in selecting the system. In turn, those employees will encourage their coworkers and teammates to jump on board and will be able to provide their peers with an explanation of how the new system will streamline the business.
Don’t Leave Your Employees in the Dark
We recommend ensuring your business leaders are transparent and open about the vision and need for organizational change. By continuously updating your employees and speaking directly to them to ask about concerns, questions, and ideas for improvement, you can significantly reduce the resistance to change.
From the birth of your project to the go-live date, and even after that, your communication strategy should discuss how the business will be improved with the new software as well as how everyone’s position will benefit from the new system. In our experience, it's much harder for your employees to resist the system if they clearly recognize the specific ways the system will make their job easier.
As we mentioned previously, people don’t like change. But people especially don’t like change that comes too quickly. Give your end-users plenty of time to get acquainted with the new system. Additionally, it might be beneficial to hold off on your go-live date until everyone who plays a key role in the software feels comfortable using it.
These are just a few tactics to sell your new software system to your users. A software implementation is disruptive, and you’ll likely experience some resistance, but keeping the above steps in mind could make the difference in getting your team on board with the new system.
Here at Datix, we know implementing enterprise software creates a huge advantage for manufacturing and distribution companies. And we can help you develop a robust change management plan to combat user resistance. Our expertise in business processes allows us to provide you with start to finish implementation support, and we offer you and your team the hands-on, in-person comprehensive training needed to ensure your success. Whether you’re implementing ERP, CRM, eCommerce, or another software solution, we can help. For more information, contact Datix today!