Getting buy-in for your new HR System
Implementing a new HR System can be a challenge, presenting you with plenty of hurdles to navigate. Throughout the lifecycle of your project, you’re going to need buy-in from key stakeholders across the business or you’ll risk hitting obstacles. Below are some essential guidelines to make certain you get the buy-in you need to ensure your implementation is a success.
Build a Business Case
The first hurdle you’re going to face is getting the budget for your new software. In all my years of working with HR software, very few businesses prioritise HR and more specifically HR technology spend when it come budget planning.
More so than ever, given the challenges of the last year, getting the budget to implement your new software can feel like a daunting prospect. You can make this easier by preparing a well-thought-out business case.
This will help identify the return on any investment and will often ensure buy-in from Exec level management while aiding you in securing the budget needed for your new system.
Prep your Project Team
It’s important to make sure everyone involved is aware of the demands that will be placed on them for a successful implementation. They’re going to be busy, will need to learn new things, and more than likely have tasks assigned to them that will need to be delivered according to the timescales of project plan to progress the project. Outline and emphasize the benefits of the new system to the team. Acknowledge that for some it will mean ‘stepping outside their comfort zone’, give credit where credit is due and be as supportive as possible by alleviating those ‘business as usual activities’ where possible.
Software implementation is very rarely the day-to-day job of the people we depend on to deploy a project. The likelihood is that your HRIS implementation will have several stakeholders from across the business. Individuals from various departments, including HR, Training, Recruitment, Payroll, Finance, IT and Marketing could all be involved at some point. Even for those who’ll benefit most, the implementation is frequently outside the scope of their existing roles.
Often, the most successful projects are those that bring in additional resource temporarily, whether that is in the guise of a Project Manager or as HR Admin support, to free up your teams time. If you can do this, then I’d recommend it. From the outset, it would be advisable to include this cost into your business plan.
Make Marketing your Friend
Marketing can be your secret weapon in getting buy-in from the wider business. Many HR Systems will allow you to brand the self-service part of the system. This gives you an opportunity to make the system yours, brand it according to the company identity and give it a familiar feel. I’ve often found that while the HR team might give it a go (and there will be a few with some hidden talents), marketing teams are just better at branding. It’s a big part of what they do, and they can make your self-service portal creative, imaginative, professional and appealing.
Engage with the End Users
Put the word out early, let everyone in the company know what HR are doing and sell the benefits, whilst highlighting the changes that will be coming down the line. By engaging with the workforce at the outset, you can gain valuable insight and address any potential issues and constraints that individuals may face, ahead of moving to the new system.
It’s not all about overcoming potential issues. As part of your business case, you will need to provide a detailed account of the expected return on investment. To maximise that return, you need to promote rapid adoption and engagement amongst your team for system uptake. Think about how you can engage with your workforce. I’ve had customers have a competition to name their new system, run surveys about features that are important to the workforce (to prioritise the project’s phases) and, I’ve previously worked in an HR team that put out a monthly blog posting to the business to inform the company of the work of HR.
You can always get creative too. See the video below from one of our customers that I thought was particularly impressive.
Setting the Tone
Advice I often give is to choose the right tone for your messaging to your business. Depending on what you’re moving from, the transition to your new HR System might not be as smooth as you would like. In particular, data might be out of date, incomplete or even illogical. If you think this might be the case, set the right expectation and engage your end users upfront – you can even ask them for their support in updating information.
Provide a method for end users to report inaccuracies or issues and provide resource for go-live support. People are much more forgiving if they don’t expect perfection!
At Tugela People, we’ve implemented hundreds of HR Systems and have many years’ experience in launching HR software. If you have any questions or need support in building a business case, then feel free to reach out to the team here at Tugela People.
This article has been authored by Kevin Hume, Senior HRIS Consultant for Tugela People. Kevin has spent the last 16 years working with HR and Payroll software in various roles and has over 3 years’ experience working with Sage People.
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