July 22, 2020 HCM Support, Implementation Support

Before you Implement a New HCM System, Here’s What You Should Know

Nearly five months into the pandemic, companies that had put their new HCM system purchases and implementations on ice are throwing fire under them to get things cooking. As they go through the process of selecting the systems that best align with their goals and considering the demands of the implementation process, here is what Wise Consulting implementation experts want them to know:

On Identifying HCM Goals

Keith Lee, Consulting Manager – 30+ years of experience: “Goal setting begins with analyzing what you are using currently and what pain points you are having with that system. Ask: what is it not doing for you that you would like to see done? Make sure you use the information you found in your self-analysis to be certain you’re not buying a new system that’s going to give you the same pain that you are already having.”

Karen Shropshire, Consultant – 29 years of experience: “Sometimes we limit our vision to the system we know. When you are in vendor selection mode this is your opportunity to dream big. Have that big vision and find the product that best matches your business needs. Don’t let a product limit you.”

What are Companies Looking for in a New HCM System?

Karen: “Most clients are after great reporting and analytics. They also want to provide employees with a great experience and drive the manual work to the employee level with self-service tools. Business leaders are thinking; ‘I need a fast and easy way to take all this wonderful data that is collected as part of the standard processes we have to do for compliance purposes and pull it into the business side to be able to make quick and accurate decisions based on that data.’ This is what you are seeing more HCM systems do well.”

Keith: “Also, clients are looking for more fluid integrations. Not having to build interfaces to bring in the time or benefits, and not so many different feeds coming from different systems into one payroll system. I think they are looking for that to be an easier process as well.”

Karen: “Great point, Keith. I think employee engagement and user experience is also huge. Every employer wants access to data and wants employees to have access to their data and a great HCM really allows the employee to be their own advocate, going online and changing their data at will. It’s not, ‘is HR open to take my form?’ anymore; or ‘is there someone there to take a call and update this for me?’ As an employee, I’m really my own advocate and can go in and do those things when it’s convenient for me, and that is a supercool option that great HCM systems give people.”

About Getting Started

Keith Lee: “Planning ahead is the biggest thing. Don’t wait until your kick-off call with your vendor to start the process. Make sure you are ready for that! Change management is often something that is left behind and not thought of until the last minute. It is very important to really start that before the implementation begins. Plan to roll out communication to your employees that this transition is coming and there are changes happening. When left till the last minute, there is scrambling to come up with the right communication, resources, guides and reference notes.”

Karen: “It is also really important to understand that implementation is nearly a full-time job. You need to have dedicated resources to be successful, and you have to be prepared. No one knows your requirements like you do as a business. What is super-important is that you’ve got those [requirements] documented and you really understand what they mean in a technical language. That’s where folks like Wise can help you interpret.”

Keith: “Also important prior to beginning an implementation, is cleaning up your legacy system. A lot of times that information is brought over into a new system and we are going back and cleaning up after the fact. If things like Social Security numbers, birth dates, and names are cleaned up before the information is brought into the new system, it is going to make your life so much easier. Another thing to keep in mind are the unique scenarios you have that you want to test. When it comes to testing, there will be a lot going on. If you already have ideas of special situations in your business that you’d like to test ahead of time, you need to have that already there for your test scenarios.”

Karen: “I think the other thing is that during team selection you engage the right resources internally. You need people who embrace change and can sell change to the organization. They need to be the biggest cheerleaders of the solution that is coming for the company and they need to be able to inspire and be enthusiastic so adoption is easier.”

Keith: “It is a lot of work and a lengthy process.”

Why do so Many Companies Engage Third-Party Implementation Partners to Help?

Keith: “Third-party consultants have been through this many, many times. Often, they have been through it as a customer as well as a consultant, so they have that knowledge to help guide the customer.”

Karen: “One of the biggest things that a third party brings to the table is experience, but a calming nature as well because we can proactively tell you where you are going to have opportunities. We know when they are coming. And, if you know something ahead of time, you can prepare for it. If you are not in the position to anticipate those opportunities, then it becomes a big task when it is upon you and there are critical deadlines to be met.”

Advice for HR/Payroll Teams Going it Alone

Karen: “Start today with your key resources documenting your requirements based on each and every employee group. Do not assume that the system you have today will work like your new system – it will not. Every system is unique and different. Go in with an open mind and with good documented requirements. Make sure that you are repeating back and forth with your system vendor implementation team how you want the requirements to work, because everyone hears things differently. Use multiple examples, talk about things two or three times to uncover the layers of the onion that might be lost in translation so maybe you can achieve that ‘aha’ moment and make sure your configuration is accurate and correct.”

Keith: “Plan ahead!”

Karen: “From a pitfall perspective, it is about preparation. Also, choosing the right team members and staying on top of change management because communication is key throughout the project. If you miss those three things, but get all the other things right, you still will not be successful.”

Last thoughts

Keith: “Plan ahead, and if you think you’re going to need a third-party consultant, you probably will.”

Karen: “Think through why you want to implement a new system: ‘what are the business problems I want to resolve with this? Does the financial impact of that pay for this implementation? And do I have the right people in place?’ No matter what, your current staff as it is today cannot do this implementation alone. No one can do their regular job along with an implementation. A lot of people will try, and it is always a very difficult and delayed implementation because of it. If you are going to spend money on resources, get a third-party who does this every day and can lead you through the process. Engage them during vendor selection so they can help you find the system that won’t limit your vision.”

Reach out with questions: 800-654-4550, contact us online or via email at HCMHelp@WiseConsulting.com.

two businesswomen going over hcm software
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