Change Management Christopher SmithNovember 11, 2021

HCM Software Implementation: Best Practices and Principles

HCM Software Implementation: Best Practices and Principles

What is the best way to structure an HCM software implementation plan?

In this post, we’ll look at a few general principles to follow when developing your implementation plan, as well as some tips and tactics to add to your implementation checklist.

HCM Software Implementation: Best Practices and Principles

An HCM software implementation strategy should not only focus on the logistics of deployment, but should also revolve around the human element. Employees, after all, are the drivers of change, which means, among other things, that employee productivity, software utilization, and software ROI depend on factors such as:

  • Employee engagement
  • The digital employee experience
  • Digital skills

A useful HCM implementation strategy should therefore put heavy emphasis on employee training and engagement. Failure to account for these factors can turn into obstacles that get in the way of productivity and the successful adoption of an HCM program.

Another principle to focus on is the “digital-first” principle.

A digital-first culture and business understands, in other words, that digital technology is not just another tool, but it is the central axis around which work and business value revolves. For this reason, it is important to center HCM-related implementation activities around digital technology, including activities such as:

  • Onboarding and training
  • The workplace experience
  • Workflows and business processes
  • Business operations

In fact, the HCM implementation process itself should be digital-first, which means that it should leverage technology for deployment, onboarding, training, business process optimization, and so forth.

For more on this topic, check out these articles on innovation and building a digital-first business

Tips and Tactics for HCM Implementation

Here are a few concrete tips and tactics that you can add to your HCM implementation checklist.

1. Choose a platform that will work for years to come. 

The choice of your HCM system will remain with your organization for years. 

Not only will it affect your adoption strategy and timeline, it will affect business processes, other departments, and your organization’s digital ecosystem.

For that reason, it is critical to align the system with your organization’s business needs and technical capabilities.

In short, evaluate:

  • Your existing and future needs
  • Your existing and future budget
  • How the platform will integrate with your digital ecosystem
  • The outcomes and ROI you hope to achieve
  • How the platform will support your business objectives

By addressing all of these needs, you will ensure that your platform will meet your needs, and by doing so, you will, by default, streamline your platform’s deployment. 

2. Train and motivate the workforce. 

As noted above, employee engagement, digital skills, and other workforce-related factors will affect the success of your HCM implementation.

For this reason, it is important to both motivate and train the workforce before, during, and after your program begins.

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Perform assessments, such as technology acceptance model questionnaires, to determine employees’ willingness to adopt new technology
  • Use employee surveys to stay in touch with employee sentiment and obtain ideas for improving the implementation project
  • Train employees on HCM platform workflows, as well as the discipline of HCM in general
  • Use digital adoption platforms and other modern training software to shorten learning curves and provide ongoing support

Efforts such as these can have a significant impact on your HCM implementation efforts, so it is crucial to take a structured approach to training and adoption. 

3. Leverage the right adoption technology. 

Large scale B2B software implementations can be accelerated with the right training technology, such as digital adoption platforms, mentioned above. 

Digital adoption solutions can overcome barriers, such as resistance to change and software-related frustration, while also accelerating overall adoption efforts.

For instance, a digital adoption solution can:

  • Speed up time-to-productivity and time-to-competency
  • Increase efficiency and productivity
  • Reduce errors
  • Reduce time-to-ROI
  • Boost the ROI of your software investment 

Also, be sure to choose your adoption platform wisely. Some, such as WalkMe, provide prebuilt training modules for major HCM platforms, such as Talentsoft, Workday, and Oracle Cloud HCM. These predesigned training solutions, along with WalkMe’s other features, further reduce onboarding, training, and adoption timelines.

4. Identify challenges from the start and strategies for overcoming them. 

A number of challenges can cause problems during HCM implementation, including:

  • Data migration
  • Employee resistance
  • Misalignment of business objectives
  • Designing new business processes

Identify these obstacles from the start and develop innovative strategies for overcoming them. 

For instance, data migration can be solved not only for your HCM implementation but also for future digital projects. When you adopt certain centralized data hubs, such as customer data platforms or, in this case, employee database solutions, you can not only address data migration issues for this project, but future projects as well.

5. Understand the difference between HCM and HR.

HR and HCM are two different disciplines.

HR, as used in its traditional sense, tends to be an operational function. Much like IT, it was considered a back-office business function that focused primarily on operational activities such as:

However, more and more companies are recognizing the strategic value that HR can play. 

Human capital management, or HCM, views the workforce and HR as a strategic asset. This perspective has been integrated into HCM platforms, so it is critical to educate employees on this perspective as much as possible during implementation – doing so will, after all, affect the value that you ultimately realize from your HCM investment.

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