How to ensure your HRMS consultant works well with the rest of your team

Having decided to engage a consultant to help you implement your new HRMS, and gone to all the trouble of a rigorous selection process to ensure you get the right person for your organization, you’ll obviously want to manage them so that they work well as part of your project team. After all, you wouldn’t go through a lengthy and expensive recruitment campaign only to issue a new employee with a security pass and a desk and leave them to get on with it. Would you?

Set them up for success

As with any other ‘newbie’, discuss their role and achieve some clarity on what it is. Agree on the resources available to them. Arrange for them to meet the right people and build the necessary network in the organization as rapidly as possible. Set them up with all the information they need to play their part: technical, organizational and people-related.

Recommended reading: keep on top of selection and implementation costs, such as HRMS consultants and user training, with our five step guide to calculating ROI on your HRMS project.

Agree measurable outcomes

Point them in exactly the direction you want by agreeing a set of specific and measurable objectives. In other words, what tangible achievements you expect, to what standard, and by when? These measures are the basis of how you will measure their contribution to the HRMS project. Furthermore, keep them up-to-date on all relevant changes and emerging issues, such as employee changes, amendments to requirements and shifts in strategic priorities.

Consider the wider team

The chances are your HRMS project team is mainly assembled from in-house people, each giving a proportion of their time to the project. You’ll have gone through much of the above with each of them. The team as a whole needs to understand each other’s contributions and objectives.

It can be particularly important for internal team members to understand that an external consultant is little different to them – there to do a job, perform a function. Given inevitable perceived disparities in rewards and benefits, HRMS consultants may face preconceived resentment from existing employees. Helping your team past that, if necessary, is a key priority.

Performance management

With measurable objectives in place, performance management of your HRMS consultant should be straightforward. Regular written progress reports and review meetings are one way to monitor and guide performance (and the project) toward success. Those consultancy fees are a hard cost on the project budget and you need to be able to prove that the investment is producing the expected return. Look out for missed deadlines or meetings, unexpected issues, or significant deviation from the project plan’s critical path.

Manage the consultancy relationship

A few tips which can be specially relevant to dealing with an external consultant include the following…

Be hands-on, and don’t assume their HRMS expertise and experience means they can navigate your particular organization without support. Part of your role as the ‘manager’ is to provide that essential organizational knowledge.

Don’t become sidetracked by non-critical issues. As the project proceed, new ideas (for customizations, additional system integrations, etc.) will inevitably arise. Don’t ignore them but if they’re not mission-critical then don’t chase them either. Park them and return later.

Build trust and loyalty to the project. With any consultant, the nature of their relationship to the organization is that the project becomes ‘just another job’ and while, in a sense, your HRMS consultant is a gun-for-hire, you’ll get a better result if they have a greater degree of commitment to the project’s success. So, don’t neglect those traditional management motivation tools: acknowledge, recognize, and reward.

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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