Change Management Christopher SmithOctober 4, 2021

How to Prepare for an HCM Software Change

How to Prepare for an HCM Software Change

An HCM software change can generate a number of benefits for the organization, from improved HR workflows to a better digital employee experience.

As many organizations embark on the digital transformation journey, adopting HCM platforms lies at the heart of their HR transformation process.

Organizational change, however, is rarely easy. This is even more true for digital transformation efforts, which are complex, often multi-year projects. Research has shown, in fact, that many HR transformation projects fail to achieve a number of their objectives.

How to Prepare for an HCM Software Change

Several challenges face an organization engaged in HR transformation.

A few of those include:

  • The digital skills gap
  • Poor employee onboarding
  • Poor change management communication
  • A lack of alignment between departments
  • Poor integration between new and existing tools

When preparing for an HCM software change, therefore, it is important to address these challenges and ensure that they do not become insurmountable obstacles. Developing a strategy for overcoming these barriers, in other words, can mean the difference between success and failure.

Next, we will look at a few strategies for addressing these and developing an HCM adoption plan that generates real results.

1. The digital skills gap

The digital skills gap is widening fast.

Whenever a company adopts a new platform, such as an HCM platform, that digital skills gap can pose a significant problem for the success of the adoption effort.

After all, employees who have never used an HCM platform will not have the skills to leverage it productively within the organization. 

To close this gap, it is therefore important to develop a robust onboarding and training program that focuses on goals such as shortening the learning curve and increasing overall productivity.

2. Poor employee onboarding

An employee’s first impression of a software program can have a huge impact on productivity, learning, and engagement.

A good onboarding program should begin training as early as possible. It should also focus on simplifying the software experience, in order to minimize potential software-related frustration.

Digital adoption platforms (DAPs) such as WalkMe are ideal solutions for HCM implementation, since they contain features specifically designed to accelerate onboarding and training, among other things.

Using training features included in DAPs, such as software walkthroughs and context-based guidance, HR managers and training managers can improve the onboarding experience from the very first day of the adoption effort.

3. Poor change management communication

Communication is one of the best ways to minimize resistance to change and maximize motivation.

Poor communication, on the other hand, can have the opposite impact. In a worst case scenario, employees can feel confused, besieged, alienated, and worse. This can drive down productivity and increase resistance.

Effective communication, on the other hand, can drive up productivity, engagement, and performance.

For this reason, change management experts advise:

  • Building awareness of the need for change
  • Cultivating a desire for change on the part of employees
  • Providing employees with the skills they need to enact change
  • Maintaining momentum through rewards, incentives, and continual communication

Communication should not only be a priority between employees, however, it should also be a priority between departments.

4. Poor alignment between departments

An HCM platform is one that affects the entire organization. For this reason, a digital adoption strategy requires a certain amount of cooperation between departments.

Employees and managers from every department, after all, will need to learn new HR-related workflows and procedures. At the same time, the adoption of the HCM platform will often supplant other tools, which will affect existing integrations, ecosystems, and processes.

Although it is important to collaborate closely with leaders from every business unit, one of the most important partnerships to focus on is between HR and IT.

To maximize the chances of success for your program, it is important to develop a joint plan, collaborate closely at all levels of leadership, and enact that plan together, through cross-functional teams.

5. Poor integration between new and existing tools

Another technical element to focus on is the integration between systems. 

Existing business processes, for example, often depend on the tools that are already in use. Adopting new tools will disrupt existing processes and require new ones.

On the one hand, planning for this integration can minimize potential conflicts. On the other, it can actually improve the outcomes of the adoption effort, the adoption experience, and software ROI.

Business process mapping can be a useful tool to plan for the integration of new HCM platforms. By using process maps, managers and leaders can dive deep into existing processes and more effectively plan for future processes after the platform is adopted.

Final Thoughts

Many technology-driven HR efforts are not successful, and much of this failure is due to preventable obstacles.

In some cases those obstacles revolve around technical and technological difficulties. In other cases, these failures are a result of poor change management.

To prevent both types of problems, it is important to plan carefully and understand what types of challenges you will be facing when you engage in an HR transformation effort.

For more information on these topics, read our articles on change management best practices.

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