Four expensive HRMS implementation mistakes

In any project, mistakes are easy to make. Mistakes may even be inevitable. But when it comes to HRMS implementation, some mistakes are more costly than others and will add a considerable amount of cash onto the initial cost of HRMS purchase. Let’s take a look at some of the errors you really want to avoid when introducing a new system…

HRMS mistake #1: failure to engage

It’s fair to say that people are critical to your HRMS success, and a failure to engage with users and create enthusiasm can lead to low adoption rates and your shiny new software being neglected; which may be the worst return on investment possible.

Recommended reading: figure out how much your HRMS project will cost with our comprehensive HRMS pricing guide

First of all, map out the various stakeholder groups who may have an interest and/or an influence over your project. At a minimum, these will include: strategically-minded C-suite executives, specialist functions such as HR and finance and accounting, and the wider group of employees who might want little more than an accurate paycheck. Then talk to them and ask each group (or its representatives) what their concerns might be about the new system, what they would like to improve about the old system, etc. Finally, throughout the process of purchase and implementation, maintain communication with these groups, keep them in the loop, tap into their perspective.

HRMS mistake #2: inadequate testing

How tolerant are your people of errors in their HR and payroll services? The likely answer is, not very. Your budget is unlikely to be any more tolerant. Mistakes due to poor quality data cost both goodwill and hard cash, and associated HRMS costs will increase.

The primary sources of system data is the previous HRMS (or other system), and implementation is the opportunity to test, cleanse and update that data. Tactics such as asking each employee to confirm their personal records, and rigorous parallel testing of the new system alongside the old, will help ensure your new system is working with the most accurate master set of data possible.

HRMS mistake #3: ‘sheep-dip’ training

You’ve convinced people to use the new system. You’ve ensured that the system and its data is debugged and running smoothly. The third pitfall is skimping on user training, resulting in a lack of competence that quickly drains away people’s enthusiasm and makes data quality irrelevant. A common mistake is to treat every user the same and give them all the same training package; in other words, a ‘sheep-dip’ approach. The problem here is that a ‘one size fits all’ strategy rarely results in a fully skilled workforce. The result is employees unable to use the system and for every person who doesn’t use your new HRMS as planned, the overall return on investment falls.

Far better to offer a range of options – e.g. face-to-face courses, manuals, guides, online modules, ‘just-in-time’ guides for specific tasks, expert users appointed as coaches to their colleagues, etc. – designed to meet a variety of needs and that takes into account the inevitable fact that different users will have different levels of experience and existing knowledge.

HRMS mistake #4: overspending

The above implementation mistakes are expensive in terms of their consequences. However, it’s also possible to overrun in cash terms for system features, consultancy and other added extras. To avoid your HRMS costs skyrocketing, keep an eye on:

  • Opting for features and functionality that you don’t need, either now or in the foreseeable future.
  • Buying features that you already have. Check for overlap with the organization’s existing business intelligence systems.
  • ‘New for new’s sake’ – it’s easy to be blinded by the lure of a new system or a new vendor, especially if support for your existing HRMS was less than perfect. However, remember the principle of ‘better the devil you know’ and weigh up the implementation support options objectively.
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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