HCM Implementation Success: Using Project Management & Change Management

HCM Implementation Project Plan

If your organization is considering going from an on-premise HRIS system to a cloud-based HCM software you will no-doubt be wondering “how will we make this significant move actually happen?” Here we go over how the dual use of quality project management & thorough change management will ensure that your HCM implementation is timely, effective & successful.

How Good Project Management Guides Cloud HCM Implementations To Completion

Transitioning from an on-premise HR system to a cloud HCM system is no small task. Once your HCM software choice is implemented, its ease of use and inherent efficiencies and cost-saving capabilities will no doubt be of value. However the implementation of said HCM software must be guided by project management principles if it is to be timely and stay on budget.

The objective of project management is to move a project from the start point to the end goal. To increase the chances of success of an implementation which affects an entire organization, project management is key. Simply choosing a software and instructing a HR team to get it up and running will not lead to a thorough and effective implementation. Choosing the HCM consultants who are the right fit with with your organization and its culture is a key first step. Ensuring that said Human Capital Management consultants are experts at project management is the essential next step.

Assemble The Right Team

Good project management doesn’t happen without the right team members. Your HCM implementation team must include a representative of senior level management. Management commitment is crucial to moving any HCM project to completion. This is as an HCM implementation will bring up the need to make decisions which affect the entire organization. Having an HCM project team member who can give the green light on such issues will move the implementation along much more quickly. Beyond having your HCM consultant and an HR team stakeholder on the team try to keep your implementation team small. Bigger implementation teams do not mean better implementations. A smaller more focused team made up of the right team members will be more effective than a large group of individuals who have little system knowledge or organizational pull.

Mitigate Risk Via Testing

A sometimes overlooked element of project management is risk mitigation. Basic and faulty  project management will rush milestones and hurry to project ‘completion’. Thorough project management will account for upcoming deadlines and manage timelines so that key elements of true project completion aren’t sacrificed. One such element which must not be overlooked during a HCM implementation is testing. Your testing phase will catch potential integration issues and give you the opportunity to address them. By not doing complete testing (or rushing this stage) you risk features not working when it is time for staff to use them, significant frustration, loss of workforce confidence in the system and disruption of business operations and processes. When it comes to the actual management of timelines for the HCM implementation project itself, as well as the identification of lack of testing as a significant risk, your project managers must also be astute risk mitigators.

Post Go-Live Success

You may think that once your HCM software is deployed (or ‘installed’) that your HCM journey is over. This is wrong. In fact you’re only just embarking on said journey. As such post go-live support should also be a key element of your HCM implementation project plan. Your HCM software system will need to adapt to your changing organization. As teams grow or change, as business processes evolve, as new locations are added, your HCM software will need to be optimized to meet these new conditions. Reporting and assessing performance and compliance should be of concern to your HCM project managers & HCM consultants. Hiring an HCM implementation team that is highly adept at project management will ensure this crucial element of HCM success is not overlooked.

How Thorough Change Management Ensures A Smooth Organization-Wide Transition to Cloud HCM

You’ve successfully carried out your HCM implementation. Mission accomplished, right? Not quite. The features in your HCM software have been activated, but true ROI and value will come from high adoption rates. To put it simply your cloud HR software is only effective when it is actually used by your workforce.

The best human resources programs will make change management their cornerstone when it comes to cloud HCM software adoption.

It may come as a surprise that it will take much more than an informational flyer or a single email news alert to successfully get your entire workforce to transition to your human capital management software. It will take change management.

Even the best HCM solutions will fall flat when they are not paired with change management. There is one thing you must do: weave change management into your HCM implementation project plan.

Your organization can’t just set it and forget it. A thoughtful and planned out effort to move your system to the cloud must take into account the end-user experience throughout the deployment process.

Adopt Change Management Early and Often

To do this right from the get go your HCM implementation project plan should incorporate change management. While project management is used to get the tasks needed to meet project goals done, change management focuses on the people-side of moving a project from start to finish. Incorporating change management into your planning means you are accounting for the people-focused roadblocks which arise when initiating organization-wide change. As such your plan should forecast resistance to your new cloud HCM software as well as predict how individuals, teams, departments etc. will require support to adapt to the move to cloud software. Your change managers should understand the fears of redundancy and layoff that arise when new systems and processes are introduced.

Communicate Thoroughly

At the same time your HR department should ready in-depth and continual communications vehicles (newsletters, messages from senior management, booklets, apps, user guides etc.) which address exactly such concerns. And remember your staff will want to hear authentic messages directly from the senior leaders in your company. Forgo the scripted speaking points from HR managers to truly create effective corporation communications products.

Training Is Key

Beyond communicating, focus on training. Work with your HCM implementation consultants to create a training plan to make system end-users comfortable and empowered to train others. Direct your change management team or task force to create an agile and continual training plan. This plan should account for the fact that your HCM software system will change and evolve as your company grows and its HCM needs change. As such your workforce will need to be trained on system changes and features updates as they happen.

Consult Stakeholders

When assembling your implementation team don’t exclude key stakeholders. Yes it is key that your HCM implementation team have project managers and HCM consultants – but it should also have representatives for those who will have to use the HCM system on a daily basis. Capturing their concerns and questions at an earlier stage will help lessen the likelihood of late stage road blocks.

If you are considering change in HCM systems over the next 2 years now is the time to start planning. Covalence Consulting Inc. has the experience and track record to guide you to success. Contact us!