How to measure HRMS implementation success

At the end of your HRMS implementation, as with any other project carried out in the workplace, the key question is, how did we do? Was the project a success? If an element didn’t go according to plan, why not? Whether it all worked perfectly or not, with the benefit of hindsight, what could have been done better, and how?

To be clear, this post-implementation project review is a separate exercise to measuring ROI (return on investment) of the HRMS system itself. The focus here is on HRMS implementation success (or a lack thereof).

Why go to the trouble?

Because relying on anecdotal feedback, a gut feeling, or surface appearances rarely gives an accurate indication of success. A structured, objective review on the other hand – even if it does add time and resources to the overall project costs – will not only give a true picture of the implementation process but also feed into your future HRMS usage and development strategy.

Firstly, let’s go straight to the bottom line and ask about costs and benefits. What were the final overall costs of the implementation? This includes the up-front system costs, any hardware or supporting software costs, the time taken by internal personnel in all roles (i.e. not just the project team but all staff time spent on implementation activity), external consultancy costs, any materials needed to support a successful implementation (e.g. training).

relying on anecdotal feedback, a gut feeling, or surface appearances rarely gives an accurate indication of success

Having established a figure or two, ask how those costs compare with the benefits being achieved so far. Certainly, the balance of these two factors will shift over time (hopefully in the favour of the benefits) but as an indicator of how quickly a full ROI might be achieved, it’s never too early to start gathering the facts.

The people factor

As well as cost, the other major factor is the people involved. What are the opinions of stakeholder groups on HRMS implementation success? Do they feel they were sufficiently involved? Listened to? Have the benefits and efficiencies they were promised transpired yet? What about the impact on indirect stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, and even government (e.g. in relation to employment legislation compliance)?

Similar to taking time to review the *planning of the go-live and launch, ask questions about how well the implementation process as a whole was managed and directed.

  • Are there any learning points for future projects?
  • Did any unforeseen pitfalls or delays occur? How were they mitigated? Could they have been addressed more effectively?
  • And of course, what went well? How could you repeat these success factors in future projects?

Finally, looking ahead to the longer life of the HRMS you’ve just (successfully) implemented, what issues can be fed into the longer term HR technology strategy? For example, users may have asked for additional functions which could be provided by additional software modules or upgrades. It may not have been appropriate to include them in the initial implementation (too much = too risky in project terms) but in the future, who knows?

In addition to assessing HRMS implementation success, this post- implementation review gives the first in-depth snapshot of how the HRMS is delivering on its anticipated business and strategic benefits (as identified in the initial business case) and as such is a valuable exercise to maintain the support and engagement of key stakeholders and decision-makers.

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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