Gaining support for your HRMS selection project

If you’re going to win C-suite approval for your new HRMS project, the first step is not unlike a political campaign – you need some grassroots support. Either through intuition or bitter experience, the Board will know what so many surveys tells us: namely that anywhere between 50-75% of technology projects will fail due to the ‘people factor’ (and by “fail” we mean fail to achieve the hoped-for return on investment). It’s time to build some support from the ground up which means stakeholder engagement.

Stakeholder groups

Your stakeholders are anybody who has an interest in the project and/or some influence over its outcomes. Before you start to talk to people about their views on and uses for a new HRMS, you need to do a little analysis to map out the different stakeholder groups.

Stakeholder groups and their interest in the project (or lack of) are likely to be determined by the various roles and responsibilities within the organization. For example, frontline or administrative people are likely to be interested in the employee self-service functions and how the system will impact on the services they receive from the HR team. Whereas department heads will be more interested in the analytics and reporting functions and how those might assist them in improving their team's’ performance levels. As a broad starting point, consider the following groups of stakeholders:

  • Frontline staff
  • Supervisors and first line managers
  • Middle management
  • Specialist functions (IT, Finance, etc.)
  • Clients/customers
  • and, of course, the C-suite

Recommended Reading: HRMS Selection Survival Guide - Your HRMS Selection Support Guide

Engagement success

As well as consulting on the business requirements that could be met by HRMS functionality, don’t forget to consider the issue of attitudes to change (especially IT and technology-driven change). These attitudes are often determined by past experience with similar projects and are usually at the bottom of any resistance you may later encounter – it’s worth flushing out these issues at this early stage rather than being ambushed by them later.

Meeting with separate stakeholder groups (and even influential individuals) can be a lengthy process but it’s a step you cannot afford to miss out. After all, this process of consultation is a two-way street. Stakeholder engagement is also your opportunity to extol the virtues and advantages that the right HRMS could bring to people’s working lives, at all levels of the organization.

Top tips for HRMS stakeholder engagement success are:

  • Highlight specific benefits to individual groups – remember to address the “what's in it for me” factor
  • Involve enthusiastic respondents in drawing up the system requirements
  • Turn cynicism around by using complaints or nitpicking to refine the requirements list
  • Tentatively identify the real enthusiasts as project representatives (or even implementation team members) who will champion your cause to their colleagues

By the end of the process, you should have not only a set of system requirements that reflect a cross-section of organizational needs but also the beginnings of your project’s support network.

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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