Planning your HRMS Implementation

By now there must be thousands of HRMS options to choose from, and although that makes the selection process more daunting, the upside is that the perfect system for your organisation’s unique combination of staffing, structure and services is almost certainly out there somewhere.

However… choosing the right software is only half the battle. In fact, sometimes it’s only a preliminary skirmish.

You may have signed the contract on an HRMS that is ideal for your organisation’s needs but if you drop the ball on the implementation process then, let’s be blunt, it will be no more than an expensive technological ornament, taking up server space.

Nine Steps to Success

The key to effective implementation of your new HRMS is to be systematic, take it step by step, and - like any change initiative - involve the right people at the right time. There are nine steps in total:

1) Planning the HRMS Implementation
2) Change Management
3) Hiring a Consultant
4) Data Migration
5) System Testing
6) User Training
7) Go-Live
8) Post Go-Live Challenges
9) Measuring Project Success

Although some of these stages may be carried in a different order, or even simultaneously, the first step is always good planning, ahead of time, for each of these steps.

So, given that the above steps provide nine clear project elements that must be carried out, the first question is, who should you involve in planning them? Broadly speaking, the stakeholders include anyone who has an interest in, and/or an influence over the project. The usual candidates generally include:

  • C-suite – Concerned with the return on investment, the impact on workplace efficiency, cost savings, and, when it comes to using the HRMS, having strategic reports and analytics that make a genuine difference to the running of the organisation

  • HR team – The pressure is on your HR staff from the start, as everyone will expect them to be experts in the new software yet it will be as new to them as everyone else; HR will mainly be looking to realise some time-saving efficiencies from the system

  • Users – Mainly interested in the impact on the service they receive from HR, the system’s ease of use and they may have concerns about whether it improves fundamentals such as payroll accuracy

Recommended Reading: HRMS Vendor Guide - Find HRMS vendors with a clear implementation procedure

Put simply, your planning process should invite and listen to all key groups and functions. By understanding their specific concerns you’ll be better equipped to engage with them and even whip up some enthusiasm for the all-singing, all-dancing system you’re looking to implement.

The HRMS Project Plan

The key output of the planning stage is, of course, a project plan that addresses the needs of stakeholders and clearly identifies every task that must be accomplished (and by when) for the above nine headings. In other words, it will include measurable and realistic objectives, key deliverables and milestones.

You may also decide you need a dedicated hrms project team to carry out the plan, likely to include in-house staff members with the right skills, but will possibly also be supported by an expert, external, HRMS consultant. Again, depending on the size, scale and complexity of your organisation, you may choose to establish a separate project board to handle the decision-making and ‘big picture steering,’ after all, you wouldn’t expect to see many members of the C-level working on the detailed project tasks, but you can more easily entice some C-suite representation onto a project board or committee, and such representation is two-way; it gives the top level some hands-on control over the project, but it also gives the HRMS implementation project a direct line to the top level – swings and roundabouts.

author image
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.

author image
Dave Foxall