New Tech? Avoid These Pitfalls in Your HR Change Management Plan
Est. Read Time: 3 min.
Change is rarely easy and often essential. As your company evolves and the HR technology that once supported your workforce starts creaking under its weight, adopting new tools often becomes a necessity—but that doesn’t mean your workforce has to like it. Developing a thorough HR change management plan can help smooth the transition, of course, but even the best-laid plans can start to fall apart when the ship hits an unexpected iceberg.
Research from Gartner shows that half of all firmwide change initiatives are outright failures, and only 34% are clear successes. To avoid springing a leak as you adopt and integrate new HR tools, ensure your change management plan is watertight by accounting for these common challenges.
1. Not knowing the destination before drafting your HR change management plan
The best HR change management plans are a map, designed to get you from point A (everyone comfortably using your current HR technology) to point B (everyone comfortably using your new HR technology) as quickly and seamlessly as possible. But a map is only useful if you know exactly where you’re going. And unfortunately, many HR professionals don’t have a clear idea of the destination before they set out, leaving them struggling to follow the right path.
Knowing what tool you want to adopt is not enough. To ensure a successful implementation, it’s important to outline what success looks like from the get-go.
Ask yourself, what exactly do you want the tool to do? How will you know if your implementation has been successful? How will you know if it’s failed? By answering these questions, you’ll find it easier to communicate the plan to your leaders, and to answer any questions from employees.
Once you know your endpoint, it’s easier to work backward to figure out what you need to do to get there. This includes identifying the various milestones you’ll pass along the way, which stakeholders need to be involved at each step, and who is accountable for what—so the right person is always at the wheel.
2. Underestimating nostalgia for the old way of working
Every HR transformation initiative is met with some resistance. When employees are comfortable working a certain way, even if it isn’t perfect, a massive overhaul might feel like an unnecessary intrusion or a waste of time. HR professionals that don’t anticipate this reaction can quickly find themselves on the back foot when employees raise objections—or simply revert back to the old way of doing things.
Even if the tool or process you’re replacing was fundamentally broken, don’t underestimate the power of nostalgia. To curb the mourning period before it can get out of hand, take the time to share the rationale behind the decision, focusing on the benefits to the end-user—the employee. While the business impact is what will help you secure buy-in from leaders, it’s the experience that matters most to employees, so be sure to highlight factors like ease of use.
You should also provide a means for employees to ask questions before, during, and after the transition period. Some hiccups are inevitable, and being transparent about them can help you manage expectations effectively.
3. Racing to the finishing line and rolling too much out too soon
One of the fastest ways to turn employees against a new HR tool is to rush the roll-out process. In doing so, employees will be privy to every hurdle and teething pain you encounter—and they’ll remember them long after they’ve been fixed.
You can avoid this by running a pilot program to identify and straighten out any kinks. Aim to recruit the employees most likely to be early adopters, as these are the people most likely to become ambassadors for the change. Their enthusiasm will help convert others—after all, holdouts are more likely to trust a coworker than an HR representative they’ve had little face time with.
By involving them in the trial run, these employees also gain first-hand experience using the tools. This empowers them to help train others in using the tool, streamlining the transition and making your job easier.
4. Ensure your provider supports the rollout process
Some technology providers close the deal and leave companies to handle the rollout on their own—and that lack of support can sink an HR transformation initiative.
If you do hit an iceberg, you want to know that your provider doesn’t just offer adequate lifeboats, but will be standing alongside you helping bail the water out. To ensure you’re partnering with a provider that will offer ongoing support, take the time to do thorough research, including speaking to other companies that use the tool. Otherwise, you might be left with nothing to show for your investment but wet feet.
Are you considering taking your HR documents digital? In The Complete Guide to Digital HR Document Management we walk you through every step of the process, including how to get everyone on board for change.