How to Fast Track your Sage People Implementation

As a Sage People preferred partner with over 110 Sage People implementation projects under our belt, we are often asked what is important to ensure a successful implementation. Here are six elements that we suggest are in place at the outset, to ensure that your Sage People implementation stays on the fast track.

1.)    Make sure your project has a quantifiable business case

2.)    Think about the end-to-end business process rather than just the software features

3.)    Ensure senior management buy-in

4.)    Identify sufficient time is made available for the project

5.)    Make sure your data is consistent and accurate

6.)    Focus on user adoption and training early on in the project

 

1.      Why a business case?

For many projects, the approval to proceed would not have been achieved if there wasn’t a clear business case with financial justification to support the investment.  However, in some cases projects are signed off with only high-level justification.

Having a clear quantifiable business case will ensure the project is focused on delivering value quickly to the areas that are most important.  It also provides a measurement for assessing whether the investment is delivering the return expected post go live.

 

2.      Why is an end-to-end business process important?

A new People system should deliver new ways of working involving a wider audience outside HR.   Going into a project with a view on how the process is going to work and who is likely to be involved at which stage, will make it easier to define the requirement.   It will also help to identify whether your business has any non-standard requirements or whether you could change your way of working to adapt to a standard process.

The HR business processes should all be aligned with each other e.g. recruitment and new starter activities.    If you don’t consider the end-to-end process at the outset parts maybe missed off, such as the on-boarding process.

 

3.      Why stakeholder buy in is so important?

Senior management may have signed off the expenditure but their buy in needs to go further. They need to be fully committed, leading by example and proactively getting their teams buy-in.

We find a useful way of engaging with the senior management team is thinking in terms of Heads, Hearts, and Hands.

  • Heads…  frequent, targeted communications to understand why the change is necessary.
  • Hearts… belief that this is the right thing to do for the business and themselves personally.
  • Hands…  leading by example.

The importance of senior stakeholder commitment cannot be overstated in terms of fast tracking your implementation.

 

4.      Why ensure sufficient resources are available?

It’s an obvious question but often the day job becomes more important than the project and a small delay could have a knock-on effect, creating additional cost and delays to the project.   It is important to understand what your responsibilities are on the project, when you will be expected to perform the task and whether there is any preparation beforehand.

If you have budget constraints, you may have chosen to have your own team deliver the project. In these instances, it’s important to make sure that your team have the time available to them for coaching sessions, otherwise they will not be trained sufficiently to carry out specific tasks. This could result in the system being set up incorrectly or result in unexpected errors during the testing phase. If you are taking this approach be very clear on what tasks are to be performed and the level of skill required. If your team is expected to deliver the system themselves and they aren’t given the necessary time to receive coaching and training your implementation could actually end up costing more than it would had you involved an implementation expert with years of experience who could provide your system efficiently and with the benefit of the experience of other customers and system best practice.

 

5.      Why is accurate data so important?

If your data is incorrect and inconsistent you will not be able to easily migrate it into your new system.   Your system will be set up with your business structure, policies and rules and if the data you have does not match those held in the system it will reject the data upload.  For example, if you have a department set up in the system and there are different variations on the department names, it will only accept the record which matches the department in the system.    Our recommendation is to start reviewing the data as early as you can as this activity can be quite a time-consuming activity.

 

6.      Why focus on user adoption and training at the outset?

As Nabil Al Zarouni said ‘If no one is using the solution, it is not a solution at all’ and we all know that change is difficult. So, we suggest at the outset prioritise both user adoption and training, rather than treating it as an add on.

It takes time for people to accept, and ultimately buy into new ways of doing things and by focusing on user adoption at the outset will help to ensure that stakeholders buy into the new system more quickly. Communicate early and often with your stakeholder groups.

Offer effective training that can provide users with hands-on learning using real data and scenarios (we prefer to use data that the users know, as it is easier for them to understand and internalise).  Then don’t stop there. Once users have used Sage People, provide follow up training to build on their knowledge as they will have different questions and issues to address.

To fast track your Sage People implementation project, and to ensure that you maximise your return on your Sage People investment, consider outsourcing to a partner who has an in-depth understanding of HR processes alongside the system’s capabilities and limitations.

An experienced implementation partner will not only bring Sage People system expertise to the project, but will add value by sharing their knowledge of HR best practice. They can also explain the various implications of configuration choices and provide guidance on getting the most from the system.

 

Outsource for less headaches and more support

Outsourcing to an implementation partner generally means less headaches and more support. Also, you can avoid the steep configuration learning curve, and instead focus on value adding process enhancements and championing user adoption.

They also bring instant credibility to the project and provide guidance to ensure that the common pitfalls are avoided so that the project stays on schedule and on budget.

 

Conclusion

If the the importance of these six elements are understood at the outset, you will be better able to ensure that your Sage People implementation stays on track.

To discuss any of the issues raised in this article or want help preparing for your implementation project, please call us on (01908) 030360 or contact us and we will be in touch.

Why Use a HRIS Implementation Partner?

One question we are frequently asked is – why should a business investing in a new HRIS system use an implementation partner? Here are the main benefits of using an HRIS implementation partner as we see it:

Broader HRIS and Technology Expertise:

A partner can bring experience of different sectors, systems and approaches. These elements can help deploy the new HRIS system more efficiently avoiding pitfalls that cause delay. They can also bring impartiality to configuration discussions and the impact of those choices on the organisation’s HR system. This infusion of specialist expertise can help avoid the “If I knew what I know today, I would have done things differently” situations.

Service and Speed:

Partners often provide a more flexible, personal service especially for small or mid-sized firms that are not likely to be the biggest client. A partner’s specialist skills will also speed up the implementation process so that internal resource can be focused on adoption and training rather than navigating the learning curve of the setting up phase.

More Choice:

Selecting from a pool of HRIS implementation partners allows you to select a partner that you are comfortable working with. This personal chemistry between the internal team and the outsourced team members is crucial to meeting project deadlines, translating business requirements and aiding in knowledge transfer.

Immediate Credibility:

A credible HRIS partner with in-depth knowledge of the HRIS space and best practice can accelerate buy in from internal stakeholders. Usually this works best when the partner has a broad understanding of processes and issues pertinent to particular stakeholders. This also helps to facilitate take up of the system among users.

Committed Preferred Supplier:

A third party HRIS implementation partner that is committed to the system (demonstrated by participating at the provider’s conferences, receiving partner certification, recognition or awards, and collaboration with their sales team) has an in-depth understanding of the system’s capabilities and limitations which is a beneficial in getting the most of a system.

Partnering Pitfalls to Avoid

However, it is also worth noting the potential pitfalls of outsourcing to a third party and these tend to become an issue when the following issues are not addressed:

  • Accountability – prefer a single company that is responsible for the deliverables of all work being proposed.
  • Execution – partner’s inability to execute on the deliverables based on lack of experience, training, and overall calibre of consultant(s).
  • Partner’s Viability – partner’s financial stability, leadership and proven ability to deliver results.
  • Project Ownership – “finger-pointing”. Problems resulting in the partner blaming the HRIS sales team, while the sales team blames the consulting team.

HRIS Consultancy: Phase 2 for Westminster Abbey

westminster-abbey_938x183-banner-2We were delighted to commence with Phase 2 of the HRIS consultancy project for Westminster Abbey. In the Spring we audited their existing HR processes and suggested process improvements and helped to create the HRIS brief.

The second phase is focused on helping them manage the implementation of their selected system, Midland HR. Working with the team at Westminster Abbey we will ensure that the implementation project remains on budget and on schedule.  We will also help embed the new system within the organisation and ensure that users are properly trained.

If you are looking for expert HRIS consultancy support contact HRIS expert, Thomas Schilling, on 01327 317701.

How to Successfully Embed your HRIS System

Our handy pointers on how to successfully embed your HRIS system into your organisation….

1. Engage your users early in the buying process

Nothing encourages users buy in more than when you get their input at an early stage. Allow them to express their opinion of the functionality of the HRIS system and its key attributes. Gather both their positive and negative feedback and suggestions. This will also help with addressing potential issues with your Implementation partner so you can embed your HRIS system with less hassle.

This early interaction will help users understand what it is that the business is looking to achieve and help them to adapt more quickly to the new HRIS system.

2. Create a plan to introduce the new technology

Develop a plan of how to train all employees so that they know how the new system works. Whilst cloud based HRIS system, like Fairsail, does make adding new absences or holiday requests, simple to administer you still need to cater for all levels of technical ability and remember that change can be daunting for some users.

Apply various training approaches to reach all users, from classroom training, to coaching, video’s or virtual webinars. Also, provide reference material and don’t forget about new starters training. The aim should be to get them into the habit of using the new system regularly.

We find it useful to select key change agents to help engage end users and gather feedback for you.

3. Highlight the benefits for users answer i.e. “What’s in it for me”

Focus on the ways that the new system will save users time and improve performance. Also, drip feed users tips and insight about the system functionality. This needs to start as soon as possible, not at the implementation stage. These positive messages will help to build excitement about the new system.

4. Continuous learning and improvement

Remember that coaching / training your employees to use your HR system is not a one time learning experience. You need to constantly update your employee’s knowledge. Use system reports to see how the various processes are being utilised and where there are gaps (e.g. where performance reviews are not being completed). Then use the data to drive awareness and coaching sessions.

Use the employee self-service functionality to engage and communicate with staff about new or improved features to the system or connect systems (e.g. payroll, time & attendance, expenses, etc.)

5. Make top notch technical support available when its needed

Create a support network to ensure users can get issues sorted out as soon as possible. Firstly have manual guides that contain enough information to make your employees feel safe handling the system. This avoids having to resort to technical support whenever a problem arises. Try to find a permanent solution for common problems.

Secondly, consider having one or two well-trained super-users who are your internal go-to people for first line support. This will speed up the issue resolution process and help improve the system set-up based on users’ feedback.

6. Reward users for engagement

We find that a competition and reward get greater system engagement. For instance, at the outset you could have a fun naming contest amongst employees or during the training do run quizzes. Similarly based on things like number of login’s or general usage of the system consider recognising users who shine. Finally, some systems like Sage People offer functionality to run snap polls to gain quick feedback about areas of the business, or even the system itself – this feedback can improve HR process and system set up.

7. K.I.S.S.

Remember less is more so only include the most needed features. The simpler the system and processes are, the easier it will be to train your employees and improve user adoption. In addition, the adaptation process will be easier if you limit yourself to include only those functions essential to achieving your immediate company goals.

This will also make maintaining the system going forward and adapting to changes in the company that need to be applied to the system (e.g. a company restructure).

8. It you don’t measure it you can’t manage / improve it

Lastly, do not forget to measure the success of your efforts. Run reports to see how well the system is being used and which aspects are maintained as required and which aren’t (e.g. gaps in data, late or no entries, etc.)

Run short polls to determine the general feelings towards aspects of the system, but best of all, go out and gauge the mood and get employee’s opinions by speaking to them.

 

If you would to discuss how to embed your HRIS System call HRIS implementation specialists Tugela People on 01327 317701 or via the website.

Sage People and Sage Payroll Implementation Support

Fairsail Sage ImplementationWe are delighted to be selected to help Lobster Ink implement Sage People over the next 4 months.

Lobster Ink is a multi-media based hospitality training solution that trains staff and management internationally. Their education platform is simple yet powerful, and contains detailed high-definition video lessons and online assessment tools with course material covering Bar, Wine, Spirits, Service, Housekeeping, Guiding and International Standards.

Sage People Implementation and Training

Tugela People will manage the Sage People implementation project. This will include training the Cape Town based HR team and ensuring that Sage People is seamlessly integrated with their existing Sage Payroll system so that it meets their specific international self service requirements.

Sage People is a robust, scalable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud based application that enables, in particular, international mid-range corporates HR Managers to better manage and automate HR processes. It’s flexibility and ability to easily integrate with existing business systems, including Sage Payroll, made it the obvious HRIS choice for Lobster Ink.

Key Steps to a Successful HR System Implementation

The successful HR system implementation is a time-consuming and complicated task. The project requires careful planning with a team of focussed stakeholders involved and rigorous evaluation and adaptation to be as well-suited to the company as possible.

Here are our key steps for a successful HR implementation for you and your business:

1. Identify your executive sponsor

Ensure that the project has one key stakeholder who will assume the role of executive. This person should have a special interest in the project and be involved in every step of the implementation. It may be useful to make this individual the executive of any future implementation to ensure consistency.

2. Create your project team

Identify the skills and knowledge needed to make your project successful and assemble a team that collectively covers all these bases. It is important to ensure your team consists of at least one system administrator to work alongside the executive sponsor throughout the entire project. You also need a project manager to lead the implementation. Super users and trainers are also important team members for ensuring all of your employees adapt to the new system quickly and easily. And don’t forget to ensure that somebody is held responsible for the regular communication to the key stakeholders. Some projects even appoint a dedicated communication specialist onto the project to ensure early engagement of all stakeholders.

3. Define the business processes

Now you have your team assembled, you need to define the business processes. This step is about making sure everything is in place prior to the start of the implementation. Plan out all of the business processes that will be included in the configuration of the system to ensure that nothing is missed.

4. Define the business requirements

Think about what you want to the new system do do for your business and the steps required in order to achieve this. Clearly state everything you wish to achieve but do ensure you are not working towards too many goals in a single project. There is time to make amendments and adaptations towards the end of the process.

5. Define the phases of the implementation project

Decide on the scope of the project by gathering the business requirements.Ensure you make clear which processes or outcomes are the most important and implement your priorities in the right phase of the project. Processes you need immediately should always be prioritised. Try to keep it simple!

6. Configure the HRIS system to meet the requirements

Analyse the system to see which of the standard processes meet your requirements and make a note of any customisations that need to be made. Marry your requirements to their corresponding processes, trying to limit the bespoke configuration of the system.

7. Customise the HRIS system

Now it is time to add in the customisations to your system in order to meet all the requirements of the project. Try to keep this to a minimum as things can become tricky when complex processes need to be added to the system.

8. Gather clean data

Gather data and enter it into your new system. Before doing so, ensure it is of good quality and correct. Bad data could corrupt your system during the early stages meaning many more alterations may need to be made in the future.

9. End user adoption

It is necessary to ensure your users can adapt quickly and easily to the new system and receive the full training they need in order to do so. This is where your trainers come in- making sure every employee is comfortable with the system and any concerns or questions are addressed before they need to use it as part of their day to day job role.

10. Evaluate the system

Evaluating your HRIS system after it has been implemented is incredibly important as there are always ways your processes can be improved. Feedback from power users is important during this stage as their role is to fully immerse themselves in the new system and highlight any areas for development. During this stage, the system should be fine-tuned and perfected.