Congratulations! You’ve successfully selected your new software tool, be it enterprise resource planning (ERP), a policy admin system, or other application. The team is raring to go, but the software team needs time to implement your vision for your business process after the design is complete. You and the team can take some initial steps to avoid “project fatigue” down the road.
One of the best ways to avoid fatigue is beginning training early and often so the transition to go-live goes smoothly. When training your team on how to correctly use and optimize the new application, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Below we outline five tips using the implementation of a new ERP application as an example.
1. Demonstrate an overall vision, then break it down.
To start, provide a wide overview of how the system fits into departmental operations and how it will help the team achieve its goals. This will help employees form a vision of how this will fit into their day-to-day and provide an understanding of how they can use it to optimize productivity. Next, break the overview down to focus on the current application touchpoints the employees have and show them what is changing in the new application.
For example, an ERP application may have one or several different modules being set up for your organization. When you break it down, you can go into detail on how to use each part of the system. For each module, show what the new transaction would look like, how to search for it in the application, how to post the transaction, ask for approval by management, and see the effect of the journal on reporting.
2. Set up your cadence of training sessions.
Plan to add as many training opportunities for key business processes for your team as you can, and at the earliest opportunity, so by go-live you will all have had an early look and be ready to take over the application. Set up training demos as soon as the application is in an MVP state. Not everything will be ready, of course, but some areas will be. Ask your team members to sign on regularly. Some of the training slots might not apply to their area of interest, but more information about how things fit together is a good thing.
For example, with an ERP system implementation you may set up a session on journal entry basics with all team members to start and then the next week cover accounts payable invoice entry with just the accounts payable department. It’s a good best practice to set aside a weekly time slot (e.g., every Friday) to take a small cycle of your business process and have an hour of spot training to run through it.
3. Everyone learns differently.
There is no one-size-fits-all method for teaching. Provide an array of different teaching methods and learning tools to employees and let them have some control over how they go about their training.
For people who learn best by watching and listening, use learning tools such as step-by-step videos that break down important aspects of the system, or have them watch while someone walks them through it. For hands-on learners, provide training sessions and simulations in which employees can practice using the system. Keep in mind the documentation of procedures as tools to have for employees to refer to if they run into problems in the future.
4. Train based on role and use real scenarios.
It’s best to keep things concise wherever possible to avoid fatigue and maximize information retained. Keep things specific to the person, and train based on the role. In doing this, use real scenarios. People are much better at dealing with problems when it is something they have seen before.
For example, with an ERP application implementation have employees go through the actions of uploading daily external data (e.g., from the insurance policy administration application into the ERP application). This is a good training point to ensure end-users understand what data is being integrated and how it affects final numbers. Other beneficial scenarios would be posting a calendar of events, preparing roll-forwards, updating metadata, reviewing recurring journals, preparing account reconciliations, and formulating financial statements, as these are scenarios employees encounter frequently.
5. Invest in team cohesiveness.
Ensure everyone knows how their part of the system interacts with their colleagues’ and how/what they do affects everyone else. This will help them to work cohesively down the road.
For example, the operations team could work closely with accounting to ensure the premium payments by policy are correctly mapped to the right account number. Accounting needs that information to properly perform revenue recognition, and operations needs to know what account to map to on a product / policy basis. Bring both teams to the table when training.
Remember, it will take some time to get used to the new system, and your team may have questions that don’t come up until the application goes live. So, be sure to follow up and check in to answer any questions your team may have. Starting training early and consistently will drive change management and ensure a smooth transition from the old application to the new one.
NEOS’ experts can bring strategic oversight, subject matter expertise, and a structured methodology to deliver training, hands-on support, and detailed guides on how to perform administrative actions. Check out this case study to see how we helped a fraternal life and annuities insurer modernize their financial ecosystem with a cloud-based general ledger.