Without a doubt, upgrading your HCM software is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires some legwork. So why make a change at all? For starters, to keep your business moving forward and poised for growth. Innovative software and improved tools mean new functionality, increased productivity, and staying ahead of the competition.

Why is switching to new HCM software so dang hard?

Change is difficult

People in general like the idea of improvement, but most people hate change. We all know that being open-minded is good, but when it takes us out of our comfort zone, we’re resistant. If you find yourself saying “It’s not that bad” or “I know it’s an old system, but at least I know it well,” you might want to try getting yourself comfortable with the idea that change is transformative and positive.

Fear of the learning curve

Learning the intricacies of new software is an investment of time, effort, and resources. We want to know what we’re doing, we want to avoid errors, and software training takes time away from a workday. While it can be tough to get excited, try to view the learning curve as an opportunity to increase your capabilities and move your company forward.

It’s expensive

Yes, new software comes with a price tag and in these turbulent times some businesses argue that the cost of new software isn’t feasible. A valid point, but what is the cost of getting left behind? New HCM software is typically cloud-based, which means the costs associated with maintaining servers and hardware will soon be a distant memory. Instead of thinking expensive, think about it as an investment that will lead you into the future.

You’ve made THE decision. Now what?

By the time your business decides to move forward with new HCM software, you’ve already spent months just arriving at the decision. With all stakeholders finally in agreement, it’s time to move forward into the next stage: Implementation.

This is where you need to put your patience hat on and complete your due diligence to make this process as streamlined and well-informed as it can be. Your pre-implementation journey is like the prep part of painting, it’s the most tedious part, but the key to getting it right.

Soon you’ll be working with your implementation consultants and getting into gear, but what should you be doing with the in-between time?

At Avanti, we provide pre-implementation worksheets to help get our clients prepped (and pumped) for the road ahead, but it’s important to address a few line items before you get to the pre-implementation stage.

7 Tips for Getting Prepped and Pumped for Your HCM Implementation

1. Build the right team

This is a good time to review the roles and responsibilities required for your implementation and to identify team members with a solid understanding of workforce management processes (benefits, compensation, recruiting, onboarding, technical etc.).  

You’ll want to ensure each team member understands their role in the process and has bandwidth for implementation responsibilities. This is a process that requires dedication. If necessary, you may need to realign your team to ensure implementation success. Be sure to leverage any team member’s prior experience implementing HCM software.

Assembling a dedicated team with representatives from each business unit (HR, Payroll, Finance, Managers, Executive) will give you the diversity and experience you need to meet your businesses' needs and objectives.

2. Plan, plan, plan

Discuss what a streamlined implementation process looks like for you and the stakeholders you’re working with. It’s a good time to talk realistically about expectations.

Try to answer as many questions as you can beforehand. Plan on discussing these questions with your implementation specialist, but keep in mind that a good implementation specialist will guide you through the process and answer your questions along the way.

When starting the pre-implementation process, be sure you and your team have access to the knowledge you’ll need for a smooth transition.

3. Give yourself time

Implementation takes time and patience, but when it’s done properly it will save you and your team hundreds of hours of extra work. Start the process when your team has dedicated time to fully engage in the process.

4. Tie up loose ends

If any of your policies need updating or considered changes, now is the best time to update them. Be prepared to question why things are done a certain way and to look at where policies and processes could be improved. This is your time to build more efficiency and happiness in your workplace. Take this opportunity to make progress.

5. Brace yourself for change

It’s normal for you and members of your organization to feel anxious about a new HCM implementation.

If you’re leading the process, it’s on you to encourage your team and to assure them that a new and improved HCM system is going to transform the way you manage your people and processes. The benefits far outweigh the temporary discomfort and it’s time to embrace and create a positive change.

6. Keep your focus on the future

You’re making this change for a reason. Having a tangible vision for your future system will help you to avoid replicating what you already have. Employ tools like a gap analysis to understand your current vs. future state and to assess what resources you’ll need to get there.

7. Clean up your data

Another important task to work on before kicking off your implementation is locating all your people-related data.

What specific data needs to be on the new system? Does it need to be cleaned up? Converted? Are there codes, code descriptions, or employee data that needs to be updated? Do you have data that you want to label differently for clarity or consistency? Cleaning up your data now will create greater efficiency once you move into your implementation. You won’t regret being proactive.

This is also the time to determine who on your team will be responsible for organizing and extracting your people data into your new HCM solution. This role is not one to take lightly, your data is valuable – you want to be sure any data conversion, clean-up, or populating is in capable hands.

Now that you’ve got your head in the game

This may seem like a lot and to a certain extent it is, but there’s also a lot to look forward to, like assembling a killer implementation team, sharing a common goal, and putting a shine on your data. It’s all about putting your collective best foot forward to build the future you want for your company.

Like any good strategy, the effort you put in now will reward you throughout the implementation and when you launch your new system. Review, plan, team up, clean house, and keep your eyes on the prize. You got this.

Want to learn more about the implementation process and how it works?

At the Canadian Payroll Association's Payroll Connected conference, our Implementation Team hosted a workshop on how to love your HCM implementation.

Watch the recording below.