Why is Change Management essential to an HRIS Project? banner


Why is Change Management essential to an HRIS Project?

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Amazing! You're getting a new HR System.

It will have been a feat and significant achievement to have got to this point. You will have had to cover many bases, having followed a detailed plan, including carefully auditing your HR needs and processes. Additionally, you will have invested significant time to meet (or e-meet!) sales representatives from several system solutions before finally selecting the system best suited to your organisation's needs.

The final step ahead of kicking off the project and beginning to set up and implement the solution will have been to pull together a dedicated project team. Your project team will be focused on delivering the project on time and on budget. However, have you considered Change Management?


What is Change Management?

Change Management addresses the people side of change, which is often the most challenging and critical component of an organisational transformation. Of course, implementing the new HR System brings its own technical challenges with it, but getting your workforce onboard (the soft side of change) can make the difference between success and failure. That's because the success of your new HRIS will ultimately depend on how your workforce embraces the new system.

The reason for this is that individuals will need to perform their jobs differently. The degree to which they change their behaviours and adopt new processes significantly impacts the initiative. This is why the soft side of change can be the harder side of change. Fortunately, a structured approach to managing the people side of change can significantly impact overall success. Ultimately, change management focuses on how to help people engage, adopt and use change in their day-to-day work.


Successful change management relies on four core principles:

  1. Understand Change.
  2. Plan Change.
  3. Implement Change.
  4. Communicate Change.


Why is Change Management essential to an HRIS Project?

Ultimately, even if you implement a perfectly flawless system, an organisational transformation of this size and impact is only as good as the adoption rate by your end-users.

Fear of the unknown and potential consequences, and therefore rejection, is a natural and human reaction to change. Changing a system or processes is risking losing 'a known present for an unpredictable future'. We fear losing gained knowledge, processes or even authority on some subjects.

Change affects your most important asset, your people. Losing employees is costly due to the associated recruitment costs and the time involved in getting new employees up to speed. A change management plan can support a smooth transition and ensure your employees are guided through the change journey. Statistics on change management show that  approximately 70 percent of change initiatives fail due to negative employee attitudes and unproductive management behaviour

To limit rejection and support your users through the transition, managing change is highly recommended. All sponsors, managers, supervisors, and employees affected by the change are stakeholders. In many instances, external partners, vendors and even customers may be considered stakeholders. They all have a stake in the outcome of the change. Change management is not a miraculous solution that will make every stakeholder fall in love with the project. Still, it will help accepting change and give the user the necessary tools to face it and understand the value behind the transition. It will bring you a step closer toward your objective of supporting the main stakeholders to ensure a successful transformation and adoption of your new HR System.


How do I implement Change Management?

  • Anticipate resources and set up your project team.
  • Define your project, its objectives, and the methodology you wish to adopt.
  • Measure the impact of the change: which sectors, processes, competencies, performance indicators, tools, and stakeholders will be impacted by this change? How is it going to affect your company's culture?
  • Prepare a communication plan. Give your project an identity with a clear name, slogan and logo that your end users can identify with.
  • Build a solution training plan.


Some Tips

The key to change management is understanding who your stakeholders are and their likely areas of interest or opinions based on their role and history within the organisation. Try to identify who will support, who will be reluctant and who will be passive toward the change so that you can determine how best to manage and utilise them effectively.  Your project team aside, it is estimated that 10% of your stakeholders will be proactive on a transformation project, 10% opposed to the change and 80% passive. During the length of the project, your passive stakeholders will either embrace the change or reject it. For a project to succeed, at least 41% of passive stakeholders need to become supportive.

A legitimate and proactive stakeholder will be a great ambassador for your project and help steer the neutral users towards adoption.

Training can also be a key driver in accepting change and driving user adoption. Be attentive to the training you deliver and set up a training plan: When will you deliver the training? What will the content be? How are you going to deliver it? How will the user evaluate the training received?



Anne Terradot, Project Manager, Tugela People Professional Services. Read more.

This article has been authored by Anne Terradot, Project Manager for Tugela People. Anne has over 5 years of experience in Human Resources and Project Management including 3 years of HRIS implementation as an internal and external Project Manager.


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