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How to Roll out a New HR System Successfully

One of the biggest challenges with a new HR system is often getting employees to use it. Generally, people don’t like change. They will often say that ‘the old way worked well’, ‘there’s no time’ to learn the new approach.
Employees feel a new HR system is being forced on them – with little or no regard for their own needs. When introducing a new HR system, how do you get employees involved and actively engaged in the success of your new system?


Start the conversation early

The people on the front line who will be using the system are often best placed to help you work out what’s needed, what will work well and what’s likely to cause issues. Getting end-users involved at the earliest stage possible saves you a lot of time and energy. Get line managers’ input about processes that take time and what can be done to automate such processes. Setting up an employee forum at an early stage also means you have a ready-made pilot group that can help test the system and figure out bugs before it is rolled out.


Feedback on progress

There’s nothing more frustrating than being asked to give your thoughts about a new system – and never getting feedback. If you consult people, they should be updated with the latest development and how their ideas have been integrated. In cases when you can’t take forward suggestions people felt strongly about, you should give reasons – otherwise, employees will feel you have only been paying lip service to getting them involved.


Identify early adopters and quick wins

Every team has its digital enthusiasts, as well as its digital dinosaurs. Identify employees who are tech-friendly and make them internal champions of the new system. Train and get them familiar with the system first, so that they can provide support and encouragement to those who may be struggling, and also help get reluctant users onboard. Focusing on quick wins is another good way to build support at an early stage.


Build a bond

It’s hard relating to a system. So pick a name that makes it feel more ‘human’ and an extension of your HR team.
It is also worth planning out the first interaction employees will have with your new system. Can it be used to send out messages that promote employee engagement, a welcome message or a reminder about an upcoming social activity? That way, employees recognise early that the new system isn’t just about form filling and data administration.


Start simple

Try not to overwhelm employees during the first days or weeks of using the new system. Perhaps set a few simple tasks, such as uploading their photo or creating a short bio, so they become familiar with the new software and begin to take charge of their data. Provide a manual, so they don’t feel worried about ‘not getting it’ – Also, always ask for feedback. That way, you’ll identify early enough if something is getting in the way of their success – and yours.


Share success stories

Identify departments where use is high and encourage them to share success stories. Share how time-saving the new system has been, how useful the team calendar is for planning projects and allocating resources. The benefits of being able to access and manage data, while on the move or working remotely should be stated.


Be tough

Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Line Managers will come begging you to provide the information they can readily assess because they are ‘too busy.’ Individuals will claim they ‘haven’t been taught’ how to use the system and need you to help update their details. You have to take a tough stance and knock these requests back. Be supportive in showing them how to use the system (even if you already did) but don’t do it for them. If you are persistent, they will eventually get the message.


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