The role of your HR manager during HRMS implementation

Depending on the size of your business or organization, you may have a full-on human resources department headed by an HR director or a single ‘do it all’ HR manager, or even a regular manager with responsibility for HR tacked onto his or her job description. Whatever your HR setup looks like, your HR manager (or equivalent) has a complex and central role in your HRMS implementation process.

Possible HR manager responsibilities

Starting at the top of the project tree, it’s entirely possible your HR manager is also your project manager, tasked with leading a team of people to a successful implementation. If so, then they’ll be responsible overall for planning, resource management, project governance, risk management, leading the project team, monitoring delegated tasks, and stakeholder management. In this unenviable position, the HR manager will be answerable to the C-suite or senior managers for not only implementing a live HRMS but for doing it in such a way that the anticipated strategic benefits (including a return on the investment) are realized.

Recommended reading: get implementation advice for your HR manager using our step-by-step guide to HRMS implementation success

Even if you have a separate project manager (the choice may well depend on who has the best project skills), your HR manager will be the project’s ‘functional lead’ for human resources, providing input regarding people processes, metrics, and requirements in respect of the various HRMS functions, often including recordkeeping, recruitment, onboarding, training, payroll, performance management, and HR reports.

Much of this specialist input role will involve gathering information and views from those with the relevant job responsibilities, i.e. HR colleagues. In terms of stakeholder groups for your HRMS implementation, the HR manager represents the views of those managing HR functions. They should also be in a position to offer some keen insights into how the new system might improve on HR services provided in the past.

Finally, having nursemaided the implementation of the HRMS (whether as project manager or HR lead or both) the HR manager is most likely to take on the day-to-day responsibility for the system, post-implementation. After the other project team members return to their regular jobs, the HR manager is the obvious choice to provide some ongoing continuity and oversight.

Suggested tasks for your HR manager during HRMS implementation

Clearly, a detailed list of tasks will be as long as the proverbial arm, however, the tasks within the implementation project most likely to fall to your HR manager could include:

  • Communication with key stakeholder groups regarding project progress and stages; including focus groups and engagement meetings.
  • Management of project tasks that would normally fall to the HR function; e.g. administration and delivery of user training.
  • Liaison for data cleansing between HR (the ‘guardians’ of the data) and the IT function or external consultants handling the technical side of things.
  • Ensuring that the system’s functionality not only exceeds the current processes and procedures but also is aligned to the strategic priorities that the new HRMS is intended to support.

Should your HR manager also be your HRMS project manager? Assuming they have the necessary management and leadership skills, then it makes a lot of sense. Their role as functional lead is more integral to the project’s success than any other and if it is possible to free up enough of their time to lead the overall project, then the streamlining benefits are worth it.

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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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