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August 17, 2023

HCM technology change management – nice-to-have or necessary?

Ceridian partner Clinton Rubin explains why HCM technology change management is no longer just a nice-to-have and how it can help you get the most out of your new system.

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Change management is critical to ensuring the success of organisational change. And yet, some businesses overlook change management when moving to a new human capital management HCM system.

Having implemented HCM software for 30 years, I can tell you that the most successful projects were the ones where the team invested in change management activities before, during, and after implementation of the new technology. That’s because these technologies are now mission-critical systems for business success.

When organisations adopt new HCM technologies, they often do so because their old system lacked features they needed like onboarding, learning, workforce management, and many other capabilities. When users encounter this new functionality, if they don’t understand its value, there’s a big risk of them not adopting it.

Let’s take a closer look at how HCM change management can help you realize the full potential of your technology investments.

A phased approach

The first key to change management success when adopting new HR technologies is breaking down the process – looking at the parts rather than the whole.

Change management activities before implementation should include defining the success of the project. If this isn’t done by the project sponsors prior to implementation, someone else will end up defining it along the way. And all too often, the later it’s defined, the less it resembles what the project sponsors originally wanted it to be.

During the implementation phase, part of change management is unifying and consulting all project stakeholders, including executive sponsors, steering committee members, project managers, project team members, and end users. Properly addressing the requirements for each of these groups within your organisation is essential for success.

Additionally, change management activities should encompass all departments in the organisation and should be managed through the steering committee, just like implementation activities.

Here are some key change management activities to consider for your HCM implementation:

Four types of change management activities

There are four major types of change management activities: awareness, vision, articulation, and review. Each of these may have a different meaning for various project types, but for HCM software, we define the activities below.

Awareness

Identify what needs to be changed and the benefits it would bring. Developing current-state process maps and determining process pain points and issues helps you identify what needs to be changed, as well as the benefit fixing those pain points would bring to the organization.

As-is process mapping can be done in a variety of ways, such as using the swim lane technique. This often involves having key stakeholders in the room while discussing and documenting the process in flowchart fashion. You can also use the layered approach, which flowcharts the process beginning at a very high level and breaks down these components into sub flows.

Vision

Reimagining current processes into a future state can be very helpful in developing a vision for change. If a software platform has already been selected, using the inherent processes of the software platform will provide the basis for the vision. If the platform has not been selected, the new vision can help make the best decision for the new software platform.

The vision can be developed by conducting facilitated sessions using the as-is process flows or the new software process flows. Working through each section of the process, the facilitator will solicit ideas from attendees in a brainstorming session to create a process vision for the future.

Articulation

This phase of change management involves developing and executing a communications plan that addresses HCM technology changes and timelines. This communication plan should not only involve stakeholders but also managers and employees, articulating the changes and the benefits it will bring to the organisation and end users. It also provides the ability for stakeholders to provide input regarding the change.

These change management activities should also include training for users of all levels. Employee training programs will, of course, look different for administrators versus end users, but the importance of learning such a critical new system should be emphasised to all.

Review

Following change management processes can help ensure success when adopting new HR technology. But even if the result is a positive one for your organisation and stakeholders, it doesn’t mean everything went flawlessly.

Take the time to conduct a post-mortem review of all change management activities and phases. Work with other stakeholders to determine what went well and what didn’t. Were project goals met? Was the forecasted timeline accurate? What was particularly difficult or successful? The answers to these questions and others can prove valuable as you implement new features of your HCM system and for other change efforts throughout the organisation.

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