Fixing a bad HRMS implementation: what to do when it's all gone wrong

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare, an HRMS project that has descended into chaos. How can you turn around a failing implementation and make it a success? Read on for three top tips to get your HRMS implementation back on track.

Rally the troops

A high performing team displays strong communication skills that are aligned around a shared vision. Does everyone on your HRMS implementation team understand the focus and priorities of the project, and can they organize their tasks to meet critical milestones? Is your team storming, norming and performing or are they not able to work together to complete basic tasks easily?

Rescue your HRMS implementation from failure by setting up communication channels that highlight the key dates and ensure connectivity by holding overall team meetings with follow-up in sub-teams. A kick start in the right direction is teamwork and communication training to help the team to find new and better ways of doing business.

Recommended reading: get your HRMS project off to the best possible start with our nine step guide to HRMS implementation success.

Ensure that the right resources are in the correct roles

HRMS implementation can be hectic even in the best of times, with a large number of interlinked activities going on. Some team members will be comfortable with the rapid pace and will thrive on it. A key cause of projects going downhill is when they are missing sufficient resources or are understaffed by assigning someone to the team while expecting them to do their ‘regular’ job at the same time. A surefire way to derail any team is to understaff a project which puts the remaining team members under strong pressure.

To reverse a failing HRMS implementation, do a check of your resources and ask your employees to log work hours for a true picture of any missing roles so that you have a business case to augment staff. A follow-on activity is to then do a risk assessment of your project team. Often on HRMS implementations it’s the employees with the deep HR operational and system knowledge who are critical to a successful launch rather than general project managers or coders. Free up these employees from their day jobs and remove excess project tasks to keep them focused on complex tasks.

‘Right size’ the scope of your HRMS implementation

As you learn more about your new HRMS during the early weeks and months of implementation it may become apparent that the original project scope was too ambitious or the wrong direction for your company, contributing to your project upheaval. For example, maybe position management isn’t a match now that you understand it better or perhaps managers have taken so much to self-service prototyping sessions that you want to release more functionality. Now is the time to course correct and adjust the scope to incorporate the correct functionality into your charter and make a fresh start.

An HRMS functionality review is a useful exercise for companies who are live with an HRMS as well, especially prior to renewing a contract. Are you actively using all of your licensed modules? If your HRMS licensing cost is based on employee headcount, is the projected number still correct?

I have seen willingness from HRMS vendors to swap out the license costs for an unused module in exchange for one that would be more relevant. Many will also issue credits towards a future purchase if the basis of your population has changed, such as a large divestiture. It is always worth it to ask as a number of vendors will make concessions in order to keep you as a long-term customer.

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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