October 12, 2021 Implementation Support

Tips for Dodging HCM Implementation Pitfalls

A new HCM system implementation involves more than just following a set of instructions and pressing the Go Live button. A lot more. This is where the ‘not knowing what you don’t know’ factor can be a real problem. The choices you make in building the foundation of your system directly impact the outcome of the implementation and how well your new system will meet your organizational goals. There are always more tasks and decisions to be made than anticipated, and more potential pitfalls than can be imagined at the outset.


Identify HCM Goals


Gaining clarity on what you want in an HCM system and what your short and long-term goals are is imperative. Do not skip this step. Marta Williams, Vice President of Client Services with Wise Consulting, suggests your team ask the following question: “What is your definition of success and how are you going to get there? This system should be something you are happy with not only today, but five or ten years down the road.”

Brainstorm with your team to uncover corporate and departmental goals as well as the problems you are looking to solve with your new HCM system. What do you want your end-user experience to feel like? How can your new system support your plan for change and growth? Then ask: what analytics will you need to measure the progress of your objectives?


Perform Analysis of HCM & Payroll Processes to Unearth Problems you want Solved


Performing analysis of your existing practices, identifying process inefficiencies and understanding downstream impacts allows for improvements to streamline your processes and achieve better results. The bottom line is, spending time on this now will significantly improve your experience with your new system once it is implemented. Some things you might want to consider are: Which dated/manual processes would you like to automate with the help of your robust new system?  How efficient are your document and approval workflows? What future system components will be merged with existing applications?

If you have put together the right team of people to tackle your complex project – including an ideal mix of experience and skills – the time they put in at this stage will leapfrog you toward optimizing return on investment.


Map Out Implementation Responsibilities & Assess Gaps


“It’s really important to understand that [HCM system implementation] is nearly a full-time job. You’ve got to have dedicated resources to be successful,” Karen Shropshire, Wise consultant, stresses. Typically, you have your in-house team as well as a vendor team involved in an implementation.

Does your team have all the skills, bandwidth (in addition to current job responsibilities) and support needed to complete all the tasks required for implementation within the time designated for this project? If not, you need to find quality help to augment your team and provide the skills and experience you are missing. Many organizations will opt to engage a third-party, experienced resource to provide the niche skills, guidance, translation of vendor requirements and knowledge of the software that make for a smooth, successful implementation.


Don’t Underestimate the Value of Change Management


Keith Lee, a consulting manager with Wise, agrees. “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 communications to your employees that this transition is coming and there are changes happening. When left until the last minute, there is scrambling to come up with the right communication, resources, guides and reference notes.”

When it’s an afterthought, employees feel out of the loop and less inclined to get on board. Experienced implementation professionals understand that an organization can buy the best HCM system for their perceived business needs possible and still wind up dissatisfied with it. This may be because workers resist instructions to engage with it because the upcoming change was not communicated early on and throughout the implementation process. Employees need to understand what’s in it for them and they need training as well as consistent support for the project from every level of the organization. If executives are enthusiastic and team leaders are not, those mixed signals will sow mistrust. For more information about change management, read The Role of Change Management in HCM Implementation.


If your HCM Implementation gets Derailed – Don’t Panic


If you find yourself mid-way through a faulty implementation or even experiencing frustration and disappointment post-go-live, do not despair. Many problems can be fixed after the fact and bringing in an expert team to assess what went wrong and how best to fix it based on your organization’s unique goals and needs is a great investment.  Your company selected and purchased an HCM system with expectations in mind. If the system is not meeting expectation, it’s time to get help so that you can get best use from that system for years into the future.


Wise consultants have the practitioner experience and technical expertise to help you achieve a successful implementation that exceeds your expectation. For more information on the implementation journey, click here. To start a conversation with a Wise expert, contact us at 800-654-4550 or HCMHelp@WiseConsulting.com.

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