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How to plan for a successful HR software implementation

By 22/07/2020April 11th, 2024HR Software, Implementation
successful HR software implementation

Implementing HR software can feel like a daunting task. From data migration and set up to creating reports and automated workflows; it’s hardly surprising that when buying HR software, a staggering 85% of professionals cited ‘time to implement’ as a hindrance. (, 2019).

But implementing new HR software should not be a task to be feared, it poses a huge opportunity for your business to streamline processes, improve employee engagement and consider your approach to data management and security.

Research published in Forbes estimates that a staggering 54% of software implementation projects fail due to poor management.

Understanding HR software implementation

Implementing software of any kind requires forethought, planning and preparation. Whether you’re implementing HR software, CRM or marketing automation; there will always be some legwork required on your part.

Here at Natural HR, we have supported countless implementations of HR software and have found the most successful all share one common denominator: preparation.

In this article, we’ll share our blueprint for a successful implementation; making your decision to introduce and make the process of HR software implementation a simple and logical one.

Enlist a team of champions/assign responsibility

Whether you’re a lone wolf in HR or if you have a team around you, involving the right people in your project from the get go can make or break your implementation. This shouldn’t be decided based on who has the most time available, but who is suitably experienced, with the right insight into business processes and technical know-how.

Naturally, HR has to be involved given their extensive knowledge into practices and processes that will determine the set-up and configuration of the software.

Who will gather your employee data? Who will take care of the configuration? Who will conduct the training? Who is responsible for overseeing the whole project and assessing the outcome? Getting the right team on side to lead the HR software implementation can make all the difference in its success.

Create a timeline and set key milestones

Working together with your vendor, establish a timeline that is both realistic and achievable for both parties. Understand what you need to do, when your data will need to be ready by and which people need to be available to help and support the process.

The implementation phase is critical to long-lasting success so take your time mapping out each stage of the process: how long will each task take, who is responsible for what, what dependencies are there?

Define your requirements and processes

From permissions and workflow processes to international requirements and holiday allowances; now is the time to consider exactly what you need your HR software to ‘look’ like.

Implementing new software is a good time to revisit your current processes and determine whether they are as effective as they could be. Are your current processes convoluted? Do you have some unnecessary red tape that stalls efficiency? Automating processes that are already ineffective is pointless, so use this as an opportunity to re-think how you currently do things.

How do you currently approach HR relevant tasks like on-boarding new starters, booking annual leave or holding performance reviews and most importantly, what can be done better? Now think about how this will translate into your chosen HR software. What workflows will you need? What does your chain of approval look like? Who needs access to what? Granted, there will be some process change and it is important to remain open-minded to new ways of doing things.

Have a clear plan of what you actually need your HR software to do and keep it front of mind throughout your implementation process. And be cut-throat! Do you really need to opt for all the bells and whistles a system has to offer just because they’re there or could you opt for a phased approach to rollout?

Prioritise your ‘must haves’ and consider whether your ‘nice to haves’ are really a necessity right now.

Collaborate with your vendor

Most good software vendors will use a project management tool (Asana, Trello or something similar) that will allow for collaboration on a timeline and ensure complete visibility of roles, responsibilities and deadlines. There is no use if all the communication with your implementation manager is holed up in one person’s inbox who just happens to have gone on holiday for 2 weeks.

Ensure you maintain an open line of communication with your vendor throughout your entire implementation. They are there to help you throughout the entire process and have the experience of working on implementations to offer best practice, advice and guidance. This is worth its weight in gold if you’ve not been through an HR software implementation before.

For more helpful guidance on implementing HR software in your business, download our free guide: Implementing HR software 5 simple steps to success.