January 20, 2022 Implementation Support

Implementing HCM Software: A Step-By-Step Process

Implementing new HCM software is a complex process requiring knowledgeable resources and project management—it requires months of planning, data transfer, employee training, testing and re-testing to get it right. However, if your organization has clearly defined goals that you’re looking to accomplish—and you approach the initiative with preparation and forethought—a new HCM system can offer a significant return on investment and set your company up for long-term operational success. 

Below, our team of expert HCM implementation consultants has provided a list of critical steps so you can approach your implementation goal with confidence! 


Map Out Your Goals—Get Specific!


HCM systems are a hub for managing all aspects of internal payroll and human resources. With the right software, your organization can streamline, manage and automate processes including:


  • Payroll
  • Workforce Management
  • Performance Analytics
  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding
  • Benefits
  • Learning
  • Employee Self-Service
  • Compensation


Identifying potential efficiencies to be gained in critical areas, spotting gaps in internal processes, and thinking through software features that will help achieve organizational goals is essential to HCM software implementation pre-planning and analysis. Failing to lay the groundwork for exactly what goals you want to achieve with an implementation is an enormous missed opportunity. If you don’t outline your business objectives before starting the software selection process, you could end up hitting more snags than expected once implementation begins because you won’t understand which options to choose at pivotal junctures. You could end up with an HCM system that is not the best fit for your organization or is not optimized to meet organizational priorities and objectives. 


Accurate Data Transfer


This is a task that benefits enormously from receiving insight from a skilled consultant to ensure your data is transitioned into your new system correctly. In our experience, this is where HR departments—especially departments going at implementation alone—hit the most unforeseen snags. ‘Scrubbing’ your data is important because if it is not clean and accurate, the new system may have issues right off the bat. This is a common area where in-house implementation teams uncover obstacles they did not expect. The way in which the data is mapped and organized in the new system is also important if you expect it to work optimally for your specific business needs. Since your data is the foundation of your HCM system, it’s vital that your company data is set up to enable best long-term outcomes. The last thing a do-it-yourself implementation team wants to experience is a snowball effect of increasingly worrying about issues being revealed post-go-live when exciting results are expected.




Before your “Go-Live” date, your system will be tested again, again, and again. Errors with employee personal data, payroll tax inaccuracies, and salary misinformation frequently reveal themselves during this period of extensive testing, and you don’t want these errors to create regrettable mistakes once your system is up and running. Our advice? Don’t skimp on the important testing period between data transfer and your “Go-Live” deadline!


Change Management


Many implementation teams underestimate the importance of change management. Communicating how this new system will impact your organization, and all levels of employees, is imperative for best adoption. The decision to implement a new human capital management system affects every member of your workforce. What is the best time to begin communicating the change? From the beginning, and continuing throughout the entire process. Transparency, enthusiasm, and role modeling from management communicates an intention to support every member of your team during this significant organizational change. This includes user training for your IT, HR and payroll departments, and employee meetings to discuss exactly how employees will benefit from new system features. Yes, communicating how this change will affect personnel data, workforce performance tracking, open enrollment, etc. is important, but at the end of the day, your workforce will get most excited about how it will make life easier for them.




If you’ve planned and tested correctly, “Go Live” should be nothing but a celebratory date. The last step in the implementation process, your “Go Live” date is when your team gets to ‘flip the switch’ and get your new and shiny system up and running. A smooth transition is a telltale sign that your team handled implementation preparation correctly. While this milestone is surely an exciting one, we do recommend having your team members involved in the project on standby in case any unforeseen issues arise. Organizing seasoned post-go-live support is advised so that if issues arise with the first payroll cycle or other trouble crops up, experts are on hand to avert or quickly minimize damage.


A quick tip on choosing a “Go Live” date for your project: while it may be tempting to believe it can be completed quickly, you want to give your implementation team time to complete this complex process. It’s better that the project gets done correctly, than done quickly. Our experienced consultants can provide a realistic timeline and manage your project so that key deadlines are met.


Work with a Wise Consultant to Avoid Costly Implementation Mistakes


Take it from Steve Grem, President of Wise Consulting: “If there’s one key to success, it’s knowing where you want to go.” Ultimately, cloud HCM software is an innovative and modern tool that can help you save time and resources, mitigate internal human resources obstacles, keep your organization tax compliant and ensure you never miss a payroll period. But when it comes to the implementation process, you get out of it what you put into it—the more careful planning and preparation you put into it, the more benefits you’ll experience from your HCM in the long term.


Eager to learn more about how Wise Consulting fits into your HCM implementation journey? Our consultants are ready to walk you through the planning process and advise you along the way. As former client-side HR and payroll specialists, we’ve been in your shoes and understand the ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ phenomenon that can hinder inexperienced implementation efforts. Our consultants have a passion for helping organizations successfully reach their new system launch dates on time, within budget, and as smoothly as possible. Call us at 800-654-4550 or fill out the form here to receive more information.

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