The three forgotten pieces of your HRMS implementation plan

Implementing a new HRMS can be like doing a 5,000-piece jigsaw: it’s all too easy to lose or forget a few pieces, leaving you with an incomplete solution.

The ‘average’ HRMS implementation plan (assuming there is such a thing!) includes the following basic steps:

  • Planning the implementation
  • Change management
  • Hiring a consultant
  • Data migration
  • System testing
  • User training
  • Go-live
  • Post go-live challenges
  • Measuring project success

While some of these steps may be done in an order to suit you, they are all (with the exception of #3) essential. However, some of these steps, or more accurately, some elements of these steps, are often neglected or skipped over. No surprises that an ‘implementation-lite’ process is more likely to end in disaster. Here are three common pitfalls, or ‘missing pieces’:

1. Not including the right people

We all know that stakeholder management is a core element in any project, right? And we also know it can be the most difficult and unpredictable. Which is why, when time and budgets are tight, it can be tempting to skimp on it. Don’t. Stakeholder management can be the key to success at any and all of the 9 steps mentioned above.

A ‘stakeholder’ is anyone with an interest in, and/or an influence over, your project. At the very least, engage with the following three broad categories of people:

  • Users: frontline workers and supervisors. Their main concern will likely be any aspects of the HRMS that are automating or replacing services they currently receive from a member of HR.
  • HR team: the HR staff not only have to understand the system but be able to explain it to other users, as everyone else will expect them to be the experts.
  • C-suite: the board have more strategic concerns: workplace efficiency, cost savings, analytics and reports, and ROI.

Recommended reading: use our comprehensive nine step guide to implementation success to ensure you don’t leave anything out of your HRMS implementation plan.

2. Badly organized training

Different stakeholder groups will need to use the HRMS for different things but practically everybody will use it for something. Which makes a new HRMS one of the more impactful technological changes you can make. There’s no shortcut or replacement for a proper training needs analysis that identifies what each group of people need to know, what their current skills and knowledge are, and then offers solutions to bridge the gaps.

Your C-level users need access (possibly via someone else) to HR analytics and strategic level reporting features. Line managers are more focused on employee recordkeeping, workforce scheduling and time off, performance management, and recruitment and onboarding. Those HR ‘experts’ need to be able to advise everybody else, and do whatever statistical and strategic number-crunching might be required. And finally, everybody else needs, at minimum, to access to their own personal records and keep them up date.

3. Failing to measure ROI

Projects are like Schrödinger’s cat: you don’t know whether you have a success or a failure until you open the box and look at the facts.

The HRMS equivalent of a live or dead cat is your ROI. Did the implementation project go according to plan? What feedback do you have from stakeholders? Did the system go live on the target date? Were you within budget? What does the initial feedback from the training tell you? What post-implementation actions to ensure continuing success (or turn disaster into success) must be carried out. Who will do that, and when?

This initial review gives a first snapshot of how well your new HRMS is providing the hoped-for business benefits (as should have been laid out in your initial business case). This makes it not only a useful exercise in its own right, but also the foundation for future, more in-depth assessments of the systems overall value for money.

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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