Doesn’t matter whether that new accounting package will do everything but make staffers’ lunch — people are still going to be nervous about working with something new.
And those anxieties have the power to undermine even the most well-selected system. That’s why coming up with a plan ahead of time to head off as much nervousness as possible can go a long way toward your next conversion’s success.
There’s something you can do at every step in the process:
Your best first step? Wipe out as much “mystery” as you can. A little positive press before a single piece of software appears can calm many folks down.
The idea: Give users an idea of how the new system will differ from the one they’ve been using. It doesn’t even matter whether people remember everything you’re telling them. What does: That you’ve told them and eliminated the speculation, which can whip people into a frenzy fast.
Naturally there’s going to be a learning curve with a new system. But you also can’t afford to have a lot of costly and time-consuming mistakes — they’ll quickly eat away at your ROI.
To avoid a culture shock, you might help ease people through by keeping one foot in the old way of doing things.
For example, maybe your new accounting system requires new codes that staffers will have to remember. By posting a list of the new codes with a list of the old ones they correspond to people will catch on faster and feel less like there’s nothing familiar to work with.
Of course, once you go live, everyone will have to work solely within the new system. And questions are going to come up.
Your vendor has a manual that comes with the system. But who wants to read through that? Consider writing up your own user manuals as a resource for staffers to lean on.
They don’t have to be an inch thick. But you want them to include details specific to your own policies and procedures. You might even make a FAQ based on the troubles staffers have had thus far.
You’ll never take the anxiety away. Only time will do that. But you can make it a lot easier going.