Implementing HCM Needs to Start with Change Management

Marlo Hertling

Many companies will purchase a new HCM solution with dreams of efficiencies, better processes and improved employee engagement using tools like Self-Service. However, the reality is that many of these new solutions are implemented with a disappointing result, not meeting all the visions that were there when the decision to change was made.

Starting Your HCM Implementation with Change Management

Companies often spend significant time, energy and money selecting the right software and partner. However, a common mistake is that they don’t spend the same time and effort developing a change management plan to ensure a successful implementation of their new HCM solution.

“Change management requires a leadership group that can think ahead and be visionary. Your need to anticipate what inconveniences will be encountered by your team during the change and remind them of what the benefits will be and that any inconveniences are temporary. In our case there will be some duplication of tasks during the testing phase and we need to prepare our team for that and help them keep in sight how this change will move us forward.”

Warren Sawatzky, Director of Human Resources at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg

Research has shown that projects with a well-defined change management plan are 6 times more likely to meet or exceed project objectives 1. Regardless of the scale of change, including a change management plan increases the likelihood of staying on schedule, meeting your budget, and realizing all the benefits of your new solution.

Whether you are implementing a new module in your existing solution or a brand new HCM technology, factoring in a plan for change management is critical to your success.

Planning for HCM Success with Change ManagementHow to Achieve HCM Change Management Success

Here are seven important steps that will help you achieve change management success.

1. Create a change management team.
This team needs to be responsible for communications to all stakeholders, listening to concerns and working to ensure a smooth transition to the new solution. This team should consist of people from across your organization who will be champions of change. It’s important that the team include a change sponsor at the senior executive level.

2. Demonstrate why the change is necessary in your organization.
Being able to communicate to your whole organization the factors that led to the decision to change, such as information gaps, new technology, growth and any other contributing factors will ensure they understand why the change is important to them and to the company.

3. Demonstrate the benefits of making a change.
Sharing with your whole team how everyone will benefit from the change, such as better reporting for metrics and analysis, improved communications, streamlined processes and any other benefits.

4. Include your management team in the development of your plan.
Support from your executives is important to the success of the change. Encourage your management team to provide feedback on the change, and work with each one to create an active role in demonstrating and championing the changes.

5. Create a communication plan to make sure your whole team is in the loop.
Communication is the most important component of change management. Communicate often to celebrate milestones, reinforce the reasons for the change and share the benefits that are already being seen as a result.

6. Create a training plan.
That way your team knows how to use their new tools and to ensure they get the most out of the new solution. For your employee team, the training may be as simple as how to navigate Self-Service and enter their time off requests. For your management team you may need to show them how to complete performance reviews and access departmental labour cost reports. No matter what your user’s needs are in the new system a great training plan will help make people feel comfortable in it quickly and ensure you are getting the most from your investment.

7. Address roadblocks and resistance as they arise.
By making sure that employees feel heard during the process and by addressing their concerns you will be able to keep them engaged and help them understand how the change, while difficult now will improve company operations into the future.

Keeping Your HCM Change Management On TrackPlanning to Keep Your Change Management On Track

When making a change that affects all of your employees you are also impacting the culture of your company. With careful planning, clear communications, and the right training you will be able to help your employees adapt quickly and easily to the changes that will arrive with the new solution.

You want employees to have a positive experience with your new systems – if they don’t, it can create an adverse reaction to your new HCM solution creating barriers to its implementation and adoption.

When change is not managed effectively in an organization some of the common risks to the project are:

  • Productivity declines
  • Resistance emerges and distracts from the original change goals
  • Valued employees leave the organization
  • Morale is impacted
  • Projects go over budget and past their deadline
  • Employees find workarounds to avoid the new way of doing things or revert to the old way
  • Your employees see change as painful rather than valuable

When implementing change without a plan it is common for employees and managers to get frustrated and start commenting that the new solution isn’t working. This is often an indicator that they haven’t been trained to understand how things work or that they were never told what changes to expect.

In Summary

The success of your new HCM software is reliant on ensuring your company, particularly your people, are positioned to help achieve the goals set out for the new solution. The efficiencies and processes that you know will help your team work smarter not harder can only become a reality if your people understand how their participation will contribute to a better workplace.

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About the Author

Marlo Hertling

Marlo Hertling has worked with leading HCM organizations and has been helping Canadian companies implement HCM solutions for more than 15 years. She is the Vice President of People & Culture at Avanti Software Inc and serves as Avanti's HCM subject matter expert.

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