Spending time to prepare for an HCM implementation

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By fostering company-wide collaboration and cultivating employee skills, HCM solutions help save time, effort and money, helping you capitalize more effectively on the productivity and talents of your employees. Its capabilities extend beyond core HR functions to identifying, attracting, engaging and retaining top talent while cultivating the full potential of your employees through internal training, skill building, collaboration, succession planning and performance management.

However, reaping these benefits depends entirely on the success of your implementation process. Once you have identified your needs, evaluated your options, completed vendor assessment and finally decided on the perfect HCM solution for your organization, you may be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief.

Not so quick! There's one more hurdle to cross before you get to the finish line - implementation. This is the point where challenges and issues begin to crop up. With adequate preparation, you can take ownership of the HCM implementation process (alongside your vendor) and smoothly transition your organization to take advantage of the cool new features of your HCM solution.

Let's take a look at some of the reasons you should take sufficient time to prepare for an HCM implementation.

Creating the business case

After signing the contract with their vendor, most clients begin preparing for the HCM implementation process. However, this preparation should start way before selecting a vendor or even signing the contract. You should start preparing for your implementation at the point when you perceive the need (or change) for an HCM solution within your organization.

Many organizations often fall victim to the "shiny object syndrome" - a situation where they fall in love with the latest technology whose functionalities have little or nothing in common with their needs. After painstakingly converting data, they find the new system has not really impacted the organization as hoped.

The first step in planning for your HCM implementation involves identifying what you want to achieve and why you are dedicating financial resources, teams, expertise and policy changes toward the acquisition and integration of a new HCM solution.

Making a clear business case while taking into account your organization's vision and culture will enable you to determine the ideal HCM solution and vendor that meets your business needs. For instance, if your organization doesn't have the skill set for mobile-based technology, purchasing a mobile-enabled HCM solution doesn't make much sense.

In addition, if your reason for the HCM implementation is automating payroll activities, the HCM solution and vendor you would choose may differ from the solution you would select for talent acquisition, engagement and retention.

Justifying the investment

Building the business case for acquiring an HCM solution involves justifying the volume of investment needed to acquire and integrate the HCM solution. It could be that the HCM solution helps eliminate the potential for error when ineffective or manual processes are in place, thus saving you the expense associated with potentially overpaying employee or correcting error.

Other reasons may include improving the employee experience to increase productivity and talent retention or making it easier for management to seamlessly manage employees and workflows, thus saving time that can be used to improve business processes and workflows.

By clearly identifying your reasons for acquiring an HCM solution, you will be able to choose better solutions and vendors that meet your business case, ensuring a seamless HCM implementation.

Carefully choose members of your implementation team

Prepping for your HCM implementation involves identifying key stakeholders and dedicating a team and project manager to head the implementation process. Decide who will be part of the implementation team and ensure that these persons have the requisite experience.

Define what a successful implementation looks like and make sure that everyone is on board with your vision and has the resources to make it happen.

Facilitating a seamless transition

You should start thinking of the areas of the business that will be impacted by the HCM implementation and put in place measures that will facilitate a seamless transition. This may involve developing policies and organizing awareness or training sessions for HR/Payroll, managers, and all employees.

The awareness or training session is critical because many employees are averse to change and become uncomfortable when their jobs are disrupted and they have to learn something new. By bringing them on board and communicating your vision and expectations, you are well on your way to a successful HCM implementation.

HCM solutions aren't implemented in ideal environments and as such, the success of an implementation rests on a number of factors that goes well beyond the technical aspects.

These factors include identifying your organizational needs and business case, setting crystal clear requirements and clearly defined expectations, and spending the requisite amount of time during the vendor selection process to thoroughly vet and proof product capabilities.

By assigning a dedicated team and equipping them with the resources they need to function, you are well on your way to a successful HCM implementation.