When you decide to implement an HR technology platform, you will likely have a lot of concerns. What if we fall behind our go-live date? What if nobody wants to use it? What if it doesn’t have the return we expected? Of course, careful planning and preparation will go a long way. But, it’s often difficult to anticipate every possible scenario. HR technology implementations aren’t the kind of project you do regularly (if you’re carefully vetting your vendors, that is), so you may not get to learn from trial-and-error. However, it is something we do regularly as we work daily with our customers across the globe to implement, launch and optimize PeopleDoc’s HR Service Delivery platform. That said, here are 5 tips for success based on our experience over the years:
1. Focus on quick wins
HR departments often feel that if they’re going to implement a technology platform, they need to roll it for all processes, all populations, all at once. “Avoid the ‘Big Bang’ and focus on quick-wins at first,” advises Clement Buyse, Co-Founder, PeopleDoc. Starting small means you can implement sooner and therefore speed up any efficiency gains. This approach can also encourage utilization as early adopters will have the chance to evangelize the new platform .
2. Establish the right project team
After supporting a wide range of teams from both medium and large companies, and from industries as diverse as retail and biotechnology, we can confidently say this: there’s no success without organization. A successful HR technology project doesn’t rely on having in-depth technical knowledge. However, it does rely on establishing a project team with clearly-defined roles and functions.
Who are the key members of an ideal team and what do they do? The list below is by no means exhaustive and certainly not fixed. The size and structure of your project team will depend on your organization and available resources, but generally we see this model:
Project leaders are the conductors of the project. They communicate about the project daily, coordinate everyone’s duties, ensure there are back-up plans and follow up on items to keep the project moving.
The project sponsor is often the project leader, but not always. They’re charged with highlighting the benefits of the project internally, communicating information with the appropriate groups and mobilizing employees.
The technical expert gets the organization’s data ready to work with the new platform and facilitates the system’s integration with any other HR systems.
The functional expert ensures the new system is designed to meet the organization’s specific needs. For example, with case management software, the functional expert would identify how certain cases should be routed.
3. Don’t ignore the data
When it comes to justifying and optimizing your HR technology investment, data is crucial, yet often overlooked. Data can help you identify trends across your employee population as well as bottlenecks in your processes. Thankfully, you don’t need a stats background for this. Most platforms (like ours!) provide data that’s easy to read and interpret, especially if you’ve identified your KPIs upfront. Once you’ve gathered some meaningful data, share it! This will get your HR team and the broader organization excited about your project (and future ones).
4. Don't rely on top-down communication
Speaking of KPIs, one to track is your adoption rate (i.e., how many employees actually adopt and use the new system). When introducing a new platform and encouraging usage, a common mistake is to rely solely on downward communication (e.g., flyers, emails). A better approach is one that includes all employees, from end users to managers to the HR teams themselves. Start by training your HR teams on the platform, then identify a few key ambassadors. They will be the ones involved in launch events and will support managers and employees as they learn how to use the new system.
At ClubMed, ambassadors were recruited to answer employee questions about the PeopleDoc platform. They also held several training workshops and events, such as “Digital HR Day.” The effort paid off— ClubMed saw a 93% adoption rate in just 2 months!
5. Optimize, optimize, optimize
The end of your go-live is really just the beginning of your HR technology project. Once you’ve rolled out your new platform and established proof of concept, have a plan to apply your new technology to additional use cases. This will ensure you get the best possible return on your investment. Onboarding is one process that impacts business results, but is often overlooked. HR rarely re-evaluates their onboarding process once it’s set up. Start by analyzing your current process and then consider which steps can be combined, eliminated or simplified now that you have new technology.
To really understand your current onboarding process, consider the approach Adriana Bokel Herde, Chief People Officer of PeopleDoc, took to analyze pre-boarding at her previous employer. She “fired” and rehired herself to experience the process first-hand, from the perspective of a new hire. “This ensures that the intended experience becomes a reality for the user and not another piece of paper in the HR folder,” says Adriana.
Overall, it’s important to remember that no HR technology project goes exactly as planned. But, with the right partner and the right methodology, you can maximize your chances for success.
Find out how you can transform your HR operations (and show fast results) with HR Service Delivery technology in our on-demand webinar:
Jolene Nicotina is the Content Marketing Manager for North America at PeopleDoc, Inc. She works on making sure HR professionals have all the latest information they need related to HR service delivery, HR technology, and PeopleDoc, Inc. Prior to PeopleDoc, Jolene worked in marketing communications for the healthcare technology industry.