Three HR software implementation best practices

Selecting and buying the right HRMS can be a convoluted and complicated process. However, when it comes to transforming your organization’s approach to human resources management, how you implement the new system determines how enthusiastically (or not) your employees will embrace their new automated HR services. In the words of The Carpenters, we’ve only just begun…

The following are three of the key HR software implementation best practices:

HR software implementation best practice #1 – Having an implementation team

No one person can implement your HRMS (even if they could handle the workload, they need input from key stakeholders from the rest of the organization) and so, choosing your implementation team is a key success factor.

Pick the right people. Preferably those with the experience and know-how to navigate a detailed, multi-faceted implementation project, including scheduling communications, user engagement activities, training programs, system testing, data migration and the go-live day.

Also consider engaging external assistance, either direct from the system vendor or from an HRMS consultant. Such help may be driven by a lack of in-house knowledge or skill or simply a lack of time and resources. And before the team begins the task at hand, think about their onboarding… Yes, they may all know the organization, they may even all know each other, but you need a high-performing team, and fast. So, make sure you provide some clarity on project goals, success criteria, plans, and strategy. Agree on individual roles and objectives then give the team the information and resources they need for success.

HR software implementation best practice #2 – The implementation plan

Remember the Scout motto: be prepared. As with any project, you need a clear plan that lays out the route from the purchase of your HRMS right through to it being a widely-adopted element of your organization’s systems and structure.

Use our step-by-step HRMS implementation plan to make your HR software implementation a success

For an HRMS, this means talking to stakeholders and planning to satisfy their needs:

  • The C-suite are expecting a clear return on their investment in the shape of strategic HR functionality.
  • The HR team is looking for a system that streamlines their function, freeing up time for higher level, more ‘human-necessary’ tasks, and projects.
  • Users tend to just want something that makes their working lives easier with the minimum of effort (e.g. the need to learn new systems) on their part.

Involve each of these three main stakeholder groups in your planning, and in the ongoing monitoring and governance of that plan.

HR software implementation best practice #3 – Change management

Systems and technology are usually predictable, people are not. That said, they do respond to change (any change) in a broadly similar fashion, usually a variation on the denial-resistance-exploration-acceptance process.

To handle this ‘people element’ of HRMS implementation, you need a change management plan that defines a route to take employees from an initial lack of knowledge about the system to being accomplished users, automatically using the HRMS for their HR-related inquiries and transactions.

It’s no real surprise that all three of the above elements relate to planning in some way. After all, most organizations are in agreement with the principle of good planning (a PwC report noted that a whopping 97% of respondents believes project management is critical to business performance and organizational success). However, around the same time, the Standish Group finding was that less than a third of all projects finish on time and on budget. The need for planning may be commonly accepted but it’s far from commonly acted on.

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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

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