Employee engagement is vital in any business situation, but especially in times of increased stress or change within a company, like during an ERP implementation.

Before we get too deep into why employee engagement is the forgotten factor in a successful ERP implementation, let’s take a step back and define employee engagement for those of us who weren’t psychology or HR majors.

Engagement is a psychological process by which someone feels that something is connected to them on a personal or emotional level.  Exact definitions vary, but key characterizations of engagement include attitude, effort and willingness to act.  For example, when your customers are engaged with your brand, they will be more likely to interact with it, liking Facebook posts, retweeting and ultimately buying, because they feel a strong connection to your brand or product.

Employee engagement then, occurs when your employees feel that same connection to their job or place of employment.  Essentially, engaged employees perform better because they feel more connected to the company as a whole.  Unfortunately, in America only about one third of employees are engaged, and as more and more research shows that investments into employee engagement are returned with increased productivity and quality work, employee engagement has become a hot topic. Companies have begun investing in various types of perks in an attempt to engage their employees.  However, employee engagement is still often forgotten during times of major organizational change such as an ERP implementation.

So, how do we foster employee engagement during an ERP integration? The short answer is Organizational Change Management.

Essentially, develop a strategy to ensure that employees are informed about company changes, how those changes affect their job specifically, and organizational expectations.  Keep the company’s mission in mind, and make it clear to employees how these changes will help the company to meet their goals in order to create a common vision for change.

Explain why these changes are necessary, not just on an organizational level but specifically how the ERP system will assist the employee’s day to day activities.  It’s not enough to only communicate milestones like training on the new system or go-lives.  Employers must keep those employees most affected by these changes involved every step of the way.

Another good practice is to start implementing certain business process changes before the go-live.  The more changes implemented at once, the greater the strain on employees.  By implementing changes over a greater span of time, some of that strain is eased.

Change is scary.  It’s stressful.  Adding stress on top of an already stressful job can be disastrous, but by keeping open lines of communication, and ensuring that your employee’s voices are heard throughout the process.  Communication, proper training and continued support are critical which is why we here at ACC put so much effort into keeping our partners and their teams in the loop throughout every step of an implementation project.

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