The 4 Commandments of HRMS User Training

As we all know from frustrating experience at some time or another, an HRMS software change or upgrade can be a de-skilling episode. Suddenly all the things we knew how to do, we know no longer; and then there are all the new (and essential) functions to learn. The best HRMS, capable of seamless and glitch-free functioning will hold no benefit for your organization if your HRMS user training is not efficient and all-encompassing.

The word “user” can be misleading, conjuring the image of the HR administration data input clerk. But there are as many different users as there are uses; and unless you’ve purchased a particularly retro HRMS, those uses will encompass users from the C-level for analytics and reporting, to managers for employee records, leave management and even recruitment, to the ‘workers’ for online access to their personal details; and not forgetting of course, the HR administration data input clerk. To ensure that all these groups and more are skilled up rather than de-skilled by the introduction of your new software, a solid HRMS training process is required.

Understand the Overall Goals of the HRMS

The HRMS was purchased for a purpose, or a series of purposes. The original business case justifying this acquisition will have (should have) tied the potential system benefits to measurable and strategic business goals set for the organization. Put simply, the HRMS isn’t there for its own sake, it’s there to help your achieve something and whatever that something is – reduced costs, improved employee satisfaction, enhanced business reputation, simply better legislative compliance, etc. – tying the HRMS training into those goals will focus the system’s use.

Identify the New Skills Needed

Each of the different HRMS user groups will need to learn something different. Certainly, they will all need a broad awareness of the HRMS, what it can do, what it is for, but in terms of the functions that each user group must access daily or weekly, their needs are likely to be distinct. In other words, ‘sheep dip’ training is unlikely to be effective. Training is a key method of engaging users in the implementation process and raising their enthusiasm for the new system; give each group what it needs and they will embrace the new system – if you don’t, they won’t.

Please Mind the Gap

Knowing where your users/learners need to be in terms of skill level is an excellent start. The next step is establishing exactly where they are. Depending on their current job requirements and the degree of difference the new system is demanding, different user groups will have different skills gaps to bridge. And, of course, so will different individuals within those groups. Conducting a training needs analysis will build a picture of those gaps, informing the HRMS training program to come.

Design and Deliver

Based on the clear goals and the detailed picture of current skills levels, the HRMS user training program can be put together, bearing in mind content, method and delivery. The content is the ‘what’, the walking through of new procedures and routines, the explanation of the new HRMS’s purpose and capabilities. The method is the choice of vehicle to carry the content: it may be face-to-face courses, e-learning, online downloadable tutorials, one-to-one coaching, and so on. The delivery involves a choice of who will be using these methods to convey the content to the users – in-house trainers, external consultants, the vendor’s support team? It’s likely to be a question that combines the issues of ‘best-for-the-job’ and the practicalities of cost and timing.

The final (and ongoing) stages of your training strategy will be evaluation – determining just how effective the training has been in achieving its goals – and a strategy for post-implementation training. After all, even when the new HRMS is seen as ‘normal’, there will still be new employees who will need to learn how to use it; also as new features are introduced, existing users will require top-up training to keep pace.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall