HRMS Implementation Plan: Your 8 Step Checklist


What are the secrets to HRMS implementation success?

To start make a comprehensive plan. As with any ambitious project, it’s worth putting the hours in at the beginning to make sure things go right down the line. If you’re feeling a little lost and don’t know where to start putting together your HRMS implementation plan then you’re in luck! Find your way with our 8-step HRMS implementation checklist.

The HRMS implementation checklist includes:

1. Change Management

When implementing an HRMS, the impact of change on the people working in the organization should be taken into consideration. In the broad, people respond to change in broadly predictable ways. For your HRMS implementation to be successful, you need to build your communication strategy based on a structured model, such as the Lewis-Parker diagram below:

2. Hiring an HRMS consultant

First, assess the need for a consultant. You might consider hiring an external consultant for the following reasons:

  • If your employee surveys indicate that HR is performing poorly, or is considered slow and unresponsive. 
  • If you’re anticipating a major change to your current HR systems and processes. 
  • If there are strong differences in opinion between major stakeholders. 

Once you’ve decided you need an expert to select and/or implement your new HR technology, look for a credible HRMS consultant who you feel has the necessary skills and a good understanding of the HRMS market. Additional things to note include their ability to form relationships with senior executives and their potential cultural fit within your organization.

References are important at this stage because the size and structure of their previous HR projects are likely to inform their next endeavor.  If this information isn’t clear, here are some questions you can ask a candidate's referees to gain a greater understanding of their past experience:  

  • What was the scope of their HRMS project?
  • What exactly did the consultant contribute?
  • Was the expected ROI achieved?
  • What problems cropped up and how were they tackled?

3. Data Migration 

When migrating data from your legacy HRMS to your new system, you first need to plan your approach. Firstly review your current data, identify gaps and check its accuracy. As part of the stakeholder engagement exercise, ask everyone to check their own personal information. Security should be at the forefront on your mind, especially if your new HRMS is taking you into the cloud. Your IT manager can help oversee this process.  

4. System Testing

Testing is an essential step when implementing a new HRMS. Look at employee lifecycle as a starting point for test scripts. Often processes will fail and require another round of testing.  Only retest the broken aspect until it passes then run it through your end-to-end test processes to be sure everything is working as it should.

In addition to your main implementation plan, outline a schedule for testing, configuration and system setup. More aspects to take into account are integration with other business intelligence systems, procedures and parallel running with the system you were using before (particularly applicable to payroll). Your new system should be faster and more accurate than the last.

Expect to perform two types of tests: functional and those that require representative user groups to test the system to the limits of its capacity. Assuming you’re implementing a new HRMS of greater capabilities, some functions will have no prior benchmark for comparison. In this case, take a step back and evaluate whether wider business goals are being met.

5. User Training

Poor user adoption can result in the failure of an HRMS implementation project. Tying your user-training plan to wider business goals, such as reduced costs, improved employee satisfaction, enhanced reputation and better legislative compliance, will keep you on course.

Who should be involved in HRMS user training?

Executive or C-level users  HR analytics and strategic level reporting. 
Line managers

Employee recordkeeping, workforce scheduling and leave management, recruitment and onboarding and performance management tracking.

Individual employees

 Access to their own personal records, booking time off, making benefits choices etc.

HR Staff  Advisory, analytical.


The table above outlines the minimal number of users you will usually need to train. Identify the capabilities of each group by identifying their current depth of knowledge or any skills gaps. Design appropriate levels of learning inventions required to bring users up to speed before go-live.

6. Budget

According to a 2022 HRIS report, you can expect to pay £6,125 per user for your software, but this is the average projected spend over five years. That creates a good idea of what your budget should be. But an HRMS budget can easily overrun. Several errors at the planning phase can cause problems here. A robust HRMS implementation plan will involve both HR and IT staff. But these relationships need to be managed. Functional specifications should be signed off before developers are allocated to start otherwise there could be complications.

Many companies forget to anticipate updates and maintenance costs. If you’ve opted for a cloud system, the pricing model will most likely be pay-as-you-go and the cost will depend on the number of users or employee records. With an on-premise system you’ll need to check if you need to take out an additional maintenance contract. You should also factor in the cost of continued user training as it’s critical when it comes to ROI.

7. Go-Live

When it’s time for go-live, users’ first experience should take precedence. You should put together a detailed risk assessment of everything that could possibly go wrong with a contingency plan that outlines what to do if problems arise. An important part of preparing for go-live is establishing what support will be available to users for example:

Super-users: particularly proficient users with an in-depth understanding of the project can be on hand for colleague queries.
Technical support: for when a hardware or software problem does occur and needs to be solved straight away.
Automatic reminders: that let anyone who logs onto the corporate system know that the new HRMS is about to go live.
JiT: or ‘just-in-time’ training refers to learning resources that are on demand for well-supported users to quickly look up a piece of information they may have forgotten or missed.

Remember to make arrangements for bug and glitch reporting.

8. Challenges

Most hrms implementation projects will face challenges. Here is a checklist of basic questions to ask post go-live:

  • Are the features functioning as expected? 
  • What errors are occurring and are they within the expected margins?  
  • Were the bugs and glitches fixed within the desired timeframes? (And, are the fixes being applied with the longer term in mind?) 
  • How did data integrity stack up against expectations? 
  • Is the system working with other integrated databases and systems as expected? 
  • What ‘quick wins’ are emerging? And can you announce them so that you have some early positive news to give out?

Stakeholders who were involved in the earlier stages of implementation can give feedback in terms of whether their needs are being met. This will also help you identify fresh training gaps that should be addressed.

It’s rare that HRMS implementation runs completely smoothly. There will often be things we wish we did differently. Learn by acknowledging these mistakes and doing your best to rectify them as quickly and thoughtfully.

A final thought…

By following these steps you’ll give your HRMS implementation a good foundation from which you can build success. Inevitably there will be some pitfalls on the way but by preparing yourself and putting contingencies in place, you can handle any unforeseen variables that would otherwise significantly disrupt the project.


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Kathryn Beeson

About the author…

Kathryn is the editor of Whilst she spends a lot of her time coordinating and editing content from the HRMS World writing team, she sometimes finds time to write articles herself. Outside of work she can usually be found running, bouldering or playing squash

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Kathryn Beeson

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