BEST PRACTICES IN HUMAN RESOURCES SOFTWARE IMPLEMENTATION
Project planning is a critical step that is often overlooked, especially in HRIS. Since HR functions are typically seen as cost centers and most information systems are initially viewed as an added burden, HRIS software implementation projects are often hurried affairs, with very little time spent on gathering and prioritizing requirements as well as vetting business process improvements. HR departments are typically stretched and many functions could be outsourced. So when it comes time to assess needs, only surface requirements may be gathered. Functions such as managing employee data, time and labor record keeping, and PTO reporting are often superficially addressed.
Consider tackling your HRIS implementation in phases. HRIS applications have advanced far beyond employee record keeping. There are many advanced feature sets and automation capabilities that should be considered. However, the more feature sets you include, the more complex and unyielding your project my become. By breaking your implementation into manageable phases, you not only ensure that the end result fits your needs and will enhance your HR functions, but you also help to make the project more palatable to your team and your end users.
Selecting the right implementation project team members is critical for project success. Too many times, the least busy person is selected as the project leader. However, this person might not be the most qualified person. In fact, the best project team leaders are often the individuals who have the least available time. The project team should comprise of a mix of subject matter experts, technical resources, a strong project manager, and the software vendor or third party integrator. Vendors are sometimes seen as external to the implementation team; the “other” side. This could not be less true. The vendor has a vested interest in ensuring that the HR software implementation project is successful. Capitalize and leverage the software supplier relationship and ask for as much assistance as is necessary from your vendor. Vendors are the most experienced resources when it comes to their solutions.
You can better maximize your HR software investment by evaluating internal or external systems that your HRIS can integrate with. If data has to be duplicated in other legacy systems, sometimes not related to HR, reducing duplicate entry can help reduce data errors and effort hours. For example, interfacing your HRIS to third party benefits provider, by sending them enrollment selection and information will greatly reduce turnaround time and help to ensure that your employees are correctly enrolled. Connecting benefits information to payroll will also reduce calculation errors, payroll processing cycles and staff hassles.
Extending your HRIS further by providing self-service functionality to employees will increase user adoption, decrease administrative processing time and lower costs. This effort can first appear daunting as you are exposing your system to a much bigger population. However, creating system workflows and control points can greatly reduce risks while allowing your users the freedom of updating their personnel information and life changes. Self-service can also improve your open enrollment process by reducing paperwork and handwriting errors.
Change management is perhaps more of a factor during an HRIS implementation than many other types of business software applications since the results often affect everyone in the organization. Every employee becomes a stakeholder because personnel information and participation is part of the measure of success. If users are unable to successfully utilize the system, whether for time and labor, for PTO requests, or for benefits selection, the system cannot work. It is important to engage your users early and often and take their comments seriously. Make sure everyone is trained, provide good user guides and have a good support system setup for questions and problems.
Having a well defined and planned software implementation roll out will increase user adoption and decrease go-live related issues. Make sure you have a thoroughly planned out multiple support processes in your roll out plan. Just as you use phases in the implementation, you can also roll out your application to users in phases, either by geographical areas, lines of business, job functions or departments. In this way you can focus on one group of users at a time and make sure the kinks are worked out before progressing to the subsequent groups.
Finally, your HRIS implementation project should be wholly supported by executive management. From department heads to the CEO, the message should be that this project is very important to the company. Team members must be budgeted the right resources and the time needed for the project. Employees are a company’s most valuable asset and the investment that the organization makes by undertaking a HRIS implementation reinforces management commitment to their people. Management should address employees directly to communicate the importance of the project. Floor meetings are very successful if all users are in one location. Otherwise, mass voicemail messages are more effective than emails and generally more personable.
Failed HRIS software implementations can be contributed to many factors. However, these known gotcha’s have been well cited by experienced project managers and software implementers. By talking with experienced project managers and performing simple web research, you can proactively recognize these issues, mitigate the downside and increase your opportunity for a successful result.
HR Software Implementation