How to Train Employees on a New ERP System

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: December 7, 2023

ERP Systems: A Brief Overview

At its core, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is an integrated software platform used by organizations to manage core business processes. These processes can range from finance, HR, supply chain, to operations, and beyond. The beauty of an ERP system lies in its ability to centralize various functions into a single, cohesive framework, fostering efficiency and streamlining operations.

Key Characteristics of ERP Systems:

Integration: One of the fundamental features of an ERP system is its integrative nature. It consolidates disparate business processes, ensuring that information flows seamlessly across various departments. This integration eliminates data silos and promotes a unified view of business operations.

Automation: ERP systems automate routine tasks, like data entry and report generation. This not only reduces the likelihood of human error but also frees up employee time to focus on more strategic tasks.

Real-time Data Access: With an ERP system, businesses have access to real-time data across the organization. This immediate insight into various aspects of the business aids in more informed decision-making and quicker response to market changes.

Scalability: Good ERP systems are designed to grow with the business. They can be customized and scaled to accommodate new business processes, additional departments, or increased data volume, making them a long-term investment for businesses of all sizes.

Reporting and Analytics: Enhanced reporting capabilities are a hallmark of ERP systems. They offer advanced analytics and reporting tools that help businesses analyze performance, forecast trends, and make data-driven decisions.

Compliance and Security: ERPs often include features that help businesses comply with industry regulations. Additionally, they provide robust security measures to protect sensitive data.

YouTube player

Benefits of ERP Systems:

In the modern business landscape, ERP systems have become indispensable tools for organizations seeking to optimize their operations, enhance their decision-making abilities, and maintain competitiveness in a rapidly changing market. Understanding the full potential of an ERP system is the first step in leveraging its capabilities to transform business processes and drive growth.

For more information on ERP systems, check out our Digital Stratosphere Podcast episode titled - Success Beyond Software: Navigating Digital Transformation and ERP Implementation in Your Organization.

Importance of Proper Training for Employees on New ERP Systems

Understanding the importance of proper training for employees on new ERP systems is critical for any organization implementing this technology. When employees are effectively trained, they are more likely to utilize the full range of features and functionalities of the new system, leading to maximized utilization and a better return on investment for the organization. Proper training also enhances productivity, as employees become more proficient in managing their tasks through the system, leading to streamlined processes and reduced errors. 

This proficiency is vital not only for day-to-day operations but also for long-term strategic planning and decision-making. Moreover, adequate training in ERP systems can significantly reduce resistance to change, a common challenge in the adoption of new technologies. By equipping employees with the necessary knowledge and skills, they feel more confident and competent in using the system, which can lead to a smoother transition and faster adoption across the organization.

 Therefore, investing in comprehensive training for employees is not just a step in implementing a new system; it's a strategic move towards enhancing overall business efficiency and effectiveness.

Understanding Your Audience

Understanding your audience is a pivotal step in developing an effective training program for a new ERP system. This process starts with identifying the different levels of users within the organization, such as administrators and end-users, each of whom will have unique training needs. Administrators, who are typically responsible for the overall management of the ERP system, will require an in-depth understanding of the system’s capabilities and administrative functions. End-users, on the other hand, will need to know how to navigate and use the system for their specific job functions. Assessing the current skill levels and technical proficiency of these employees is also crucial. 

This assessment helps in tailoring the training content to match their existing knowledge and skills, ensuring that the training is neither too basic nor too advanced. For instance, some employees might be proficient in using similar technologies and only need a brief overview, while others might require more detailed, step-by-step guidance. Additionally, customizing training approaches for different departments or roles is essential. The finance team, for example, will have different system usage and thus different training needs compared to the HR department. 

By understanding the unique requirements of each group, the training can be designed to be more relevant and effective, ensuring that all users are equipped to use the ERP system efficiently in their specific roles. This tailored approach not only enhances learning outcomes but also ensures that the ERP system is utilized effectively across the entire organization.

Setting Clear Training Objectives

Setting clear training objectives is a fundamental aspect of effectively training employees on a new ERP system. This process begins with a well-defined vision of what successful training looks like. Success in this context means not just having employees who can navigate the system, but those who can leverage its functionalities to improve their daily work processes and contribute to organizational efficiency

To ensure this, training goals need to be both achievable and measurable. These goals might include specific benchmarks, such as a certain percentage of employees being able to complete key tasks independently or an improvement in task completion time after using the ERP system. Achievable goals ensure that employees are not overwhelmed, while measurability allows for the tracking of progress and effectiveness of the training program.

Furthermore, aligning training objectives with both business goals and ERP functionalities is crucial. This alignment ensures that the training is directly contributing to the broader objectives of the organization. For instance, if one of the business goals is to streamline inventory management, the training should focus heavily on the inventory management functionalities of the ERP system

This approach ensures that employees are not only learning how to use the system but are also understanding how it fits into the larger picture of the organization’s operations and objectives. In this way, the training program becomes a strategic tool, not only for employee development but also for the realization of organizational goals through the effective use of the ERP system.

Choosing the Right Training Methods

Choosing the right training methods is a critical decision in the process of educating employees about a new ERP system. The selection of training methods should be based on the unique needs, resources, and culture of the organization. Common training methods include in-person training, online modules, and hands-on training, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

In-person training, often conducted in a classroom setting, allows for direct interaction between the trainer and employees. This method facilitates real-time feedback, clarifications, and a more personalized learning experience. However, it can be more costly and logistically challenging, especially for organizations spread across multiple locations. 

Online training, on the other hand, offers flexibility and accessibility. Employees can learn at their own pace and at convenient times, making it ideal for diverse schedules. The downside is the lack of personal interaction and potential challenges in engagement and motivation. 

Hands-on training, involving practical exercises directly on the ERP system, is highly effective for understanding real-world application but requires a setup that can replicate actual work scenarios, which might not be feasible for all organizations.

The choice of the best training method or a combination thereof depends largely on the organization's specific circumstances. Factors such as the size of the organization, geographic distribution of employees, the complexity of the ERP system, and the existing skill level of the employees should guide this decision. A large organization with a dispersed workforce might benefit more from a blend of online and hands-on training, while a smaller, centralized team might find in-person sessions more effective. 

Additionally, considering employees' preferences and learning styles can lead to more effective training outcomes. The goal is to choose a method or a combination of methods that not only imparts knowledge effectively but also aligns with the logistical and financial realities of the organization.

Developing a Comprehensive Training Plan

Developing a comprehensive training plan for a new ERP system is a structured process that requires careful planning and consideration of various elements. The first step in this process is to outline the scope of the training, detailing what the training will cover, who will be trained, and the methods to be used. This includes identifying the specific ERP functionalities that need to be addressed and tailoring the training content to meet the needs of different user groups within the organization.

The importance of including timelines, milestones, and resources in the training plan cannot be overstated. A well-defined timeline ensures that the training is conducted in an organized manner and completed within a reasonable timeframe. This timeline should include not only the dates for the training sessions but also deadlines for various stages in the training process, such as assessment tests or project completions. 

Setting milestones throughout the training program helps in tracking progress and maintaining momentum. It also provides opportunities to evaluate the effectiveness of the training at different stages and make necessary adjustments. Allocating the right resources is equally important. This includes assigning skilled trainers, securing training materials, and ensuring access to the ERP system for hands-on practice.

Integrating feedback mechanisms into the training plan is crucial for continuous improvement. This can be achieved through various means such as surveys, interviews, and observation during training sessions. Feedback from participants helps in understanding the effectiveness of the training, the clarity of the content, and the appropriateness of the training methods used. It also provides insights into areas that may require additional focus or a different approach. Regularly collecting and analyzing this feedback ensures that the training program remains relevant, effective, and aligned with the needs of the employees and the organization.

Overall, a comprehensive training plan for ERP implementation is a dynamic document that guides the training process, ensures that all necessary elements are covered, and adapts based on ongoing feedback. It serves as a roadmap not only for conducting effective training but also for ensuring that the ERP system is utilized to its full potential post-implementation.

Implementing the Training Program

Implementing the training program for a new ERP system is a critical phase where the planning and preparation come to fruition. The effectiveness of this phase can significantly impact how well the ERP system is adopted and utilized within the organization.

YouTube player

When it comes to executing the training plan, adhering to best practices is essential. This involves a systematic and structured approach to training delivery. Trainers should be well-prepared, with a deep understanding of the ERP system and the specific training content. It’s important to stick to the set timeline and follow the curriculum closely while remaining flexible enough to make adjustments as needed. Consistency in training delivery across different sessions and groups ensures that all employees receive the same level of training.

Engaging employees and ensuring their active participation are key to the success of the training program. This can be achieved through interactive training sessions that encourage participation and discussion. Using real-life scenarios and practical exercises related to the employees' daily tasks helps in making the training more relatable and engaging. 

Additionally, incorporating gamification elements such as quizzes or leaderboards can make learning more fun and motivating. Regular communication about the benefits and progress of the training also helps in keeping the employees engaged and invested in the process.

Handling challenges and common obstacles is an integral part of implementing the training program. Resistance to change is a common issue, as employees may be comfortable with the existing systems and processes. Addressing this requires clear communication about the benefits of the new ERP system and how it will make their work easier and more efficient. 

Technical difficulties, such as system errors or access issues, should be anticipated and addressed promptly to avoid disruptions in training. It’s also important to provide support for employees who may struggle with the new system. This can include additional training sessions, one-on-one support, or creating user groups where employees can help each other.

YouTube player

Evaluating Training Effectiveness

Evaluating the effectiveness of training for a new ERP system is an essential step to ensure that the objectives of the training are being met and to identify areas for improvement. Various methods can be employed to assess the effectiveness of the training program.

One common method is the use of surveys or feedback forms, which can be distributed to participants after the completion of the training sessions. These surveys can gather insights on various aspects of the training, such as the clarity of the content, the effectiveness of the trainers, and the overall satisfaction with the program. 

Another valuable tool is the analysis of performance metrics, which involves measuring the impact of the training on specific job functions. This could include assessing improvements in task completion times, error rates, or other relevant performance indicators that are directly related to the use of the ERP system.

Understanding and interpreting the feedback and data collected is crucial. It involves looking beyond the surface-level responses to discern underlying patterns or issues. For instance, consistently low scores in certain areas might indicate a need for more in-depth training on specific features of the ERP system, or negative feedback about a training module might suggest that the content needs to be more engaging or relevant.

Based on the feedback and analysis, adjustments should be made to improve future training sessions. This could involve revising the training materials, changing the training methods, or providing additional resources and support in areas where employees are struggling. Continuous improvement should be the goal, with each round of training building on the insights gained from the previous ones.

Conclusion

In conclusion, training employees on a new ERP system is a critical undertaking that requires careful planning, execution, and evaluation. From understanding your audience and setting clear training objectives to choosing the right training methods and developing a comprehensive plan, each step plays a vital role in preparing your workforce for the successful adoption of the ERP system. 

Implementing the training program effectively is about engaging employees, addressing challenges, and ensuring participation, while evaluating the effectiveness of the training ensures that the program continually evolves and improves. 

Ultimately, the goal of this training is not just to acquaint employees with a new software system but to empower them to utilize it in a way that enhances productivity, efficiency, and overall business performance. With a thoughtful approach and a commitment to continuous improvement, organizations can maximize their investment in ERP systems and pave the way for long-term success and growth.

I would enjoy brainstorming ideas with you if you are looking to strategize for an upcoming transformation or are looking at selecting an ERP system. Please feel free to contact me at eric.kimberling@thirdstage-consulting.com. I am happy to be a sounding board as you continue your digital transformation journey.

Be sure to download the newly released 2024 Digital Enterprise Operations Report to garner additional industry insight and project best practices.

Eric Kimberling

ad516503a11cd5ca435acc9bb6523536?s=150&d=mm&r=gforcedefault=1

Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.

Author:
Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
Subscribe for updates
We never share data. We respect your privacy
Stratosphere 2023
Register Here
Additional Blog Categories

Categories

Resources

International Office Locations

Follow us on:

Third Stage Consulting

Third Stage Consulting Group is a global thought leader in business transformation, ERP software systems, operational change management, and business advisory. Let us take your organization’s digital transformation to the Third Stage.
2022 - Copyright Third Stage Consulting Group LLC  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Website developed and maintained by Denver Web Design.
Privacy Notice  |  Terms of Use  |  Sitemap
crossmenuarrow-right