Dave Foxall has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years and is a regular HRMS World contributor. He explains the four essential steps in implementing HR tech.
There’s a well-worn phrase about planning. Something about failing to plan, means planning to…
Not everybody likes planning, but for a project to select and implement new HR technology in your business, it’s essential.
While the development of your plan can be a complex affair and the exact contents depend on your specific business needs, the following elements are pretty much must-haves.
Knowing where you’re going is the first step in arriving there.
Having clear objectives for your project gives you an equally clear destination that serves to guide the overall project process. At any point of deviation from, or expansion of, the plan, the basic question is: does this change lead us towards or away from achieving our stated objectives?
What’s more, your SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timebound) project objectives are equally essential after the project is done and you need to evaluate its success.
The first success criteria is – did the project meet its objectives?
How long do you expect to take finding and implementing your new HR software? You should have a precise answer and if you don’t, it’s time for more planning.
By tightly defining each task within the project, including their dependencies and required resources, you can ‘connect the dots’ in a single timeline that gives you an overall schedule, helps ensure your project team, is never over or underused, and identifies where you may need extra resources to deliver the project objectives.
A structured and realistic timeline also helps you coordinate the project with other priorities such as benefits enrollment or performance management appraisals.
Regardless of your business goals, or the length of the timeline, any new HR technology is an opportunity to review and update your existing HR processes.
In the Sierra-Cedar 2017-2018 HR Systems Survey, 67% of respondents had ‘business process improvement’ as a priority for investment in new HR technology.
The change of system may mean old processes cannot now be applied. Or its advanced features may offer the chance to improve what you currently have in place.
Whether your goals for a new HR tech include enhanced employee engagement derived from sophisticated self-service functions, or simply fewer mistakes, compliance with existing labor laws will always be a priority.
An up-to-date HR system, with automatic notifications to key role-holders prompting necessary data-gathering or reports, provides a clear benefit to any business, even if only in a reduced number of sanctions or governmental penalties resulting from non-compliance.
While much of your project plan will depend on factors unique to your organization – the different stakeholder groups, the strategic business priorities driving your future, current feedback on the state of your HR services – the above four elements are essential to any business’s planning process.
What about when it comes to implementing, however? Here’s our seven do’s and don’ts.
Trying to do too much too soon adds unnecessary risk to a project and often impacts adoption. A phased deployment will allow you to get early value, whilst ensuring a smooth user journey for employees and your team.
Make sure that you have a communications plan ready early. One of the main success criteria for any HR software is adoption. Upfront communication is very powerful and not to be underestimated.
Even as you begin to think about new HR technology, identify the teams for, firstly, the selection process; secondly, the implementation phase; and thirdly, business as usual. Different people will have different roles. Identify them early to avoid complications and confusion later down the line.
Before even speaking with providers ahead of starting a pilot, start to look at your data. Be clear about what you currently have, what gaps there are, whether it is clean, and what you want it to do for you.
Make sure the team have the time to make it successful. This is a significant investment and your internal project team must be able to dedicate adequate time for requirements setting and testing.
Play to everyone’s strengths, and make sure everyone is clear what’s expected and what’s not.
Let your technology be its best self; be open to changing some of your processes to take advantage of what the new technology has to offer.
Implementing HR tech can be a minefield. With so many things to think about, it can be hard to get sign-off from the right people in your organization. Before you start planning your selection or implementation, learn how to make a clear and persuasive business case for HR tech with our essential 10-step guide to building a compelling business case for HR tech investment.