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How to Successfully Implement a HRIS in 8 steps

The market of Core HR systems is undergoing a paradigm shift as companies rapidly shift their people operations focus away from transactional and forms-based HR, to a long-term view of overall talent development and success.

The impact of employee experience on your organization’s success drives the demand for smart human resource management information systems (HRIS) that are fully automated, connected with the current technology and employee-centric.

Today’s People Operations community have graduated from wondering “what’s an HRIS?”, to seeking out innovative tools which support their company’s talent acquisition and retention efforts, provide in-depth people analytics, and incorporate employee development to enable teams to do better work.

If your current HRIS system isn’t up to the task, implementing a more modern system may be your next big decision in 2019. The goal of any HR software is to help you manage your HR initiatives and to better support your company’s objectives. You may be hoping to increase the effectiveness of your team while decreasing the hours spent managing transactional activities, leading you to an improved employee satisfaction and leadership support.

Whatever your goal, once you’ve decided to transition to a new HRIS, here are 8 steps you can take to ensure a successful implementation.


1. Identify your current HRIS needs and plans for future growth.

Know what you want your HRIS software to do. Having a clear goal in mind will help you to set your expectations for the new platform. Are you seeking to reduce time spent on manually processing tasks or eliminating paperwork? Does the new system need to work seamlessly with your existing ATS, international Payroll or other software in your HR/IT/Finance ecosystem? What must the new system do that your current HRIS cannot manage? Answering these and other questions early in the process will help you to develop your Request for Proposal and to assess your prospective vendors.


2. Establish your HRIS budget.

Be clear on which features are the most critical for your team and for the company. Would employee self-service cut down on tracking PTO requests? Does leadership need access to advanced reporting to make data-driven people decisions? Do you want to accelerate time to productivity for your new hires with structured onboarding? Include an additional budget for IT, additional staff training time and possible budget over-runs.


3. Send out a Request for Proposal (RFP), interview vendors and then select a HRIS platform.

Do your research by connecting with industry peers, reviewing what HR blogs and other sites are saying about best-in-class HRIS vendors (if you didn’t hear, Sapling was named a Front Runner by our users!). Invite your shortlisted vendors to give a presentation to both you and your team. Aside from the sales pitch, ensure that the vendors have aligned their systems’ capabilities with your expressed current and future plans while staying within established budget and timeline for implementation. Discuss whether the system can be integrated with the tools you already use, and develop an understanding of their Professional Services Program to ensure you’re set up for success.


4.Partner with the chosen vendor to create a comprehensive implementation project plan.

Identify both your internal and external implementation project teams and garner support from your company stakeholders and sponsors. If possible, have a skilled in-house project manager be the liaison between the vendor and your internal teams. Establish dedicated resources (IT, consultants, etc.) at both the technical and the functional level, who are available throughout each implementation phase. “Companies should have a clear vision for HRIS implementations that are concisely articulated, identify stakeholders and address their concerns, have realistic timelines, and create clear processes for performing them,” said Katherine Jones, Ph.D., of Mercer’s North American Talent Business division.


5. Next up, implementation kick-off.

Work with your chosen vendor and your internal and external stakeholders to establish a multi-phased approach to implementation. This can ensure that sufficient time and resources are allocated at each phase, and day-to-day work can continue without major disruptions.

Phases may include IT and connectivity, security, systems integration, data migration, testing, super-user training, and usability testing. Communicate the implementations progress to sponsors and stakeholders on a regular basis.


6. Communicate the HRIS Company-wide rollout.

Establish a communications plan for company-wide messages as you move toward your rollout date. Your plan can include specifically timed and focused messages to super-users, stakeholders and end-users. Identify and promote internally information on technical support, functional support, and end-user training.


7. Identify challenges and provide support.

Once your HRIS system is fully functional, have additional resources in place to support late or slow adopters. Have a 2-way communication system in place to gather feedback from super-users, stakeholders and end-users. Continue to work with the vendor, internal and external resources to make any necessary technical adjustments.


8. Evaluate Implementation Success

Once you’ve reached the end of your implementation, spend time reviewing the process with both your internal stakeholders and your HRIS vendors’ Success Team.

Identify the impact of any cost over-runs, unexpected delays, and additional resources. Ensure that your vendor has addressed all outstanding issues. Have a plan in place for future add-ons, new technology or upgrades to the HRIS system.

Be prepared to share your implementation experience with the vendor’s proposed clients via references or case studies in the future.

Implementing a HRIS and executing it effectively require forethought, communication, and project management. But the results will lead to higher productivity and engagement from your team.

If you’d like to learn how our HRIS or onboarding solution can accelerate your team’s productivity, reach out for a demo.

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Written by Claire Moloney

Claire is an enthusiastic and meticulous content writer whose passion is to support growth and continual learning for everyone.


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