How to save a failing HRMS implementation

A failing HRMS implementation is a difficult situation that requires strong oversight to identify the situation and bring it to a positive resolution. How do you know when an HRMS project has failed and most importantly, what should you then do?

1. Users are reverting to the old ways of doing things

When a new HRMS is implemented users often continue to use legacy systems and old methods for as long as possible. You may have a month or two of transition but over time users should become versed in new tasks and transactions. It should be a course of worry if you have reached the third month post-implementation and if you are functioning as if it was day one. Even worse, if loud voices begin a snowball effect and other employees start to revert to the old ways based on opinion.

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Now is the time to gather focus groups and to take on board honest opinions of what is broken in the new system. I’ve seen a company who implemented position management to put more control in the hands of managers. However the organizational structure and other data needed to set up the position was too frustrating for the average manager. The company responded by appointing a position management team so that the managers could still do the entry but with help from skilled resources.   

2. Loss of confidence in the data

When your data model is not robust or interfaces were not fully tested, it can cause downstream issues. One can accept some small hiccups post go-live but continuing issues are an indicator of failure. This is an especially accurate gauge when an issue happens and everyone assumes it’s the HRMS again.

When this occurs it is time to make the difficult decisions. If you’re implemented a faulty department structure, now is the time to forge ahead and fix it. While it may cause intense work and another month of pain it is better than losing further confidence in the system.

3. Unrealized KPIs (key performance indicators)  

A business usually establishes HR KPIs or quantifiable metrics that are used to determine the success level of the company. A project should also contain KPIs which can be seen as measurable deliverables. An HRMS implementation KPI could be to reduce the time to hire or absence rate or to boost employee self-service to a certain percent. If you have not met your KPI targets or even worse if you are at a lower level of service than your old HRMS then your project has failed.

I recently consulted at a company who implemented a cloud solution as a part of an HR transformation. Three months after go-live and things were only getting worse. A radical decision was taken to halt further waves and to do a six month project to re-do some of the problem areas. Fortunately this re-launch was an accomplishment and subsequent waves could build on this successful platform.

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Heather Batyski

About the author…

Heather is an experienced HRMS analyst, consultant and manager. Having worked for companies such as Deloitte, Franklin Templeton and Oracle, Heather has first-hand experience of many HRMS solutions including Peoplesoft and Workday.

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Heather Batyski