5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Implementing HCM Systems
Companies implementing new HCM systems sometimes find they've taken on more than they expected. They may understand the value of a full-scale enterprise HCM solution, which can enhance everything from HR information systems and benefits administration, to recruiting and applicant tracking, but they can fall prey to certain key errors in the implementation process. As a result, the process can incur greater costs and may consume far more work hours than might otherwise be necessary.
To better mitigate these risks, you should know what to watch for. Here are five key problem areas to guard against with any HCM software implementation:
1. Failure to align implementation with business objectives. HCM solutions don't exist in a vacuum. To be genuinely effective, such a system should be aligned with broader organizational goals. The right software should support your company's highest priorities, rather than detract from them.
In addition, any transformational enterprise like HCM should be preceded by a clear-cut vision of what HR is meant to achieve within an organization. Different businesses have different priorities, but, generally speaking, an HR vision should include ways to:
- Improve recruitment, development, and retention of star performers
- Continuously motivate and engage the workforce
- Design a learning culture with defined metrics for ongoing individual and team performance
A vision and roadmap can help set your future direction, and can influence the selection of the right HCM software for implementation.
2. Having inaccurate and/or unrealistic expectations. An enterprise HCM solution isn't going to magically fix all of your HR challenges overnight. Some business owners, dazzled by the potential of advanced software and technology, anticipate an immediate transformation of HR processes. But when this doesn’t happen, they may lose interest or abandon support and commitment. There's generally a learning curve for HR administrators and employees with any new system and a certain amount of time involved to make a smooth transfer of processes from a legacy system to the new HCM solution.
3. Unwillingness to let go of outdated systems. Speaking of legacy, some businesses may move ahead with an HCM solution, but still cling to certain outmoded systems with the hope that the two will seamlessly blend together. There's often a breakdown in communications between different functional silos, as well as a lack of appropriate technical support.
Some providers create so-called HR software suites that are actually comprised of disparate software from partner companies, but this approach is unlikely to eliminate a company's challenges with communications and logistics. The key can be finding and investing in a truly integrated HCM technology.
4. Providing inadequate data security. In their rush to implement updated HR software, some companies fail to ensure that delicate and proprietary business information is adequately protected against hackers and data breaches. Working closely with the HCM software provider, companies should ensure that every possible security measure is in place prior to implementation. This includes a comprehensive password verification process for all managers and employees allowed to access that data.
5. Neglecting to incorporate employee feedback to HCM implementation. Ideally, businesses should consult their employees about a major change in HR systems before implementation takes place. Some companies mistakenly rush forward with the process without sufficiently informing employees about what lies ahead, or taking into account what software features most closely match their specific needs (particularly considering employees will be asked to use the system once it's in place).
A key element of effective implementation is what happens after the system is up and running. Employees caught off guard or inadequately briefed on the system can become easily frustrated when mistakes occur, thereby slowing the user buy-in that's essential for making the system work.
Mitigate the chances of this unfortunate outcome by holding regularly scheduled meetings throughout the process, and introducing new concepts and language as needed so that employees feel they're part of this great change initiative. Better yet, once the HCM system is online, give employees the opportunity to suggest tweaks and enhancements that make the system even more user-friendly. Acting on those suggestions may result in a win-win for management and employees alike.
With comprehensive planning and a focus on avoiding these common mistakes, your HCM implementation process should move smoothly and gain employee support along the way.