How to Successfully Implement an HR System

Garry Burns |


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So you're thinking of moving to a cloud-based HR system but you aren't sure what's involved in the implementation process. The following 10 steps will guide you through the process of implementing a new HR system in your business.

1. Evaluation of Needs

You and your team need to identify why you are looking for a new (or first) HR system. What are the critical business issues which you are facing that you are looking to solve? It might be costly HR admin, or time being wasted on manual HR tasks, or an inability to report on key metrics within the business. Whatever your issues, you need to agree on what it is that you need to minimise, reduce or remove these problems and how you will be able to measure this?

2. Requirement Mapping

This stage should clearly and directly feed from the previous stage – once you’ve agreed your needs, you can establish your requirements which becomes a case of mapping your operational needs with product functionality.

So, for example, you might be having issues with data discrepancies and human error because all your data is being kept in different spreadsheets, in different locations across your company. You can map this with the functionality of one centralised cloud-based system.

Another example: perhaps you are having trouble understanding absence metrics in your business, as you don’t have a means of viewing or reporting on all absence & holiday data at the same time. You therefore may decide that you need an absence planner giving you an intuitive overview into every absence happening on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis and an analytics feature able to provide you with detailed and granular reporting capabilities.

3. Vendor Selection

Once you’ve established what operational features you need in an HR system, you can now begin the vendor selection process. It can seem a little daunting at first, as there are plenty of HR software suppliers to choose from. That’s why a thorough understanding of your specific business needs is so important to agree up front. Lots of these suppliers provide free trials of the system which give you a chance to play about with the software and better understand the ways in which it can meet your requirements – or not (which might happen a few times before you find the system that is right for you!)

Functionality is one important factor when choosing a system – the other factor is, of course, price. Matching your requirements to a system and remain within your budget may be difficult, so you need to determine what functions are priorities. Please also be aware that cheap isn’t necessarily best, especially if you find a vendor who can resolve your operational pains and save you money.

4. Scoping & Planning Implementation

Planning your project implementation is an all important stage once you’ve selected the software that is right for you. Some key points to consider:

• How will you get your data into the new system? (Youmanage, for example, provides a data import template to our new clients which allows them to match their data with fields in the system).

• What custom fields will you need to set up to allow the system to become your own?

• What is your data retention policy and how will you ensure employee data is deleted or anonymised at the correct times? (Youmanage has it’s own data retention feature, which allows you to set the system up to automatically delete or anonymise data at the times you specify.)

• What resources do you need to acquire to make this project a success?

• What are your objectives and timescales?

5. Data Upload

This is the part when you actually upload your data to the system. However you have opted to do this, ensure the correct fields in the system match up to the designated fields in your data set. It will likely be an Excel file with lots of information so it’s important to ensure its accuracy and is also an opportunity to cleanse your data.

6. Customisation & Workflow

You will have already planned out which custom fields you need to set up, but some software systems offer even more customisation options – for example Youmanage can be any colour you want it to be, so you can set it to your corporate theme, and even upload your own logo.

You will also likely want to set up specific working patterns for different employee types, and customise access levels depending on job role or function (perhaps you’d like HR Users to see all employee absence types, but you’d like Managers to only see their own team’s?).

Other features you might want to take advantage of include process workflow – customising your employee letter templates (for performance reviews, disciplinary & grievance etc) and setting up notifications, reminders and prompts will help to ensure that you are using the system to its fullest capacity.

7. Go Live

When you go live with the system, all employees who you’ve given access to the system should be able to log in and use the functionality as you’ve set it up. You might want to send out training documents which will likely be provided by the vendor themselves (Youmanage has a variety of User Guides as well as a built-in online Knowledge Base).

8. Training of Key Staff Members

Your chosen software supplier will likely have training options to ensure that you and your team are making the most out of the system, and are using it correctly. Admin and HR Users are the most likely to require product training, as they will be responsible for the system internally. You should also ensure Managers know how to use the functionality they have access to, including reporting which might seem a little daunting at first. Read our article on how to get started in HR analytics and reporting for a bit of help.

9. Post Go Live Support

Any questions you have, you should direct to the supplier’s Support Team, if they have one (which hopefully if you've picked your software smartly, they will!)

Over time, your Admin users should essentially become ‘super-users’ of the system and will be able to provide their own, more specific support to individuals within your business.

10. System Performance Mapping

Now that the system is fully functional in your business, how can you measure its success? Things you might want to consider:

• How much time is being saved day-to-day on manual HR processes?

• Are you ensuring your compliance more comprehensively by using the system to centralise your data?

• Is there more functionality available that you could benefit from? Many systems are modular and therefore you might want to have a look at what additional modules are available that you could utilise to increase cost & time saved in your business.

Following these 10 steps will ensure the implementation of your new HR system goes successfully, and you can begin to reap the rewards & benefits provided.

Did you find this article useful? Youmanage HR is an HR software system designed to streamline, simplify & strengthen your HR processes. To find out more, take out a 30-day free trial, or request a free online demo.

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