How an HCM consultant provides exceptional service & accountability through great communication & documentation
By Vanessa Kimball
There are many phrases that no one wants to hear during a project. The ones I want to highlight here that are particularly dangerous to the success of an implementation project and the implementation team’s morale are:
- “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that.”
- “I thought someone else was supposed to do that.”
- “I didn’t know that was due today.”
- “We never discussed this.”
So, how can you avoid these gaps in understanding? Communication starts well at the beginning of the project but can sometimes taper off near the end. Even if communication is fantastic during the project, you can still hear the above phrases uttered. Below are some tips and tricks related to accountability via documentation that you can use regardless of your role on the project. These strategies can help ensure a smoother project experience for all team members.
Complex configurations are often discussed, in detail, during the project on team conference calls. Recording the call can provide a record of what was discussed, especially if a decision or a feature was demonstrated by the vendor during the call. Be sure you have permission from participants to record the call. After the call, be sure to store the recording in a way that you can retrieve it if you need to discuss further. You may still hear, “We never discussed that” but it will allow you to revisit the recording and make sure all stakeholders agree on the path forward.
Summarizing decisions, action items during a project call will help the team understand and agree on what was discussed. I highly recommend having more than one screen and having a blank email addressed to everyone on the call on your second screen. As the call progresses, write down a summary of the items you’ve discussed with the group on that email. Whenever, something is discussed as being what I affectionately call a “homework item”, write it down on that same email. Include whose responsibility it is to complete, the due date, and if possible, the current progress, even if the item is your responsibility. Transparency between all project team members helps foster open communication and trust.
Assigning an item to your client team member is not the same as assigning items to a team member from a 3rd party consulting firm like HRchitect. Many client project team members are completely new to system implementations, and action items are often out of their comfort zone. If an action item is the responsibility of a project team member, make sure to discuss the task, timeline, and due date extensively with that person. Confirm their understanding of the work required. Ask them if they believe it is feasible to complete the task in the time you are giving them. If necessary, explain what impact it will have on the overall project if the item is not completed on the date you have proposed. Make sure to include this information on your email so you both are working from the same documentation.
Make sure before you close out the call to inform the participants that they will be receiving a follow-up email from you with a summary of what was discussed as well as the “homework items” assigned to them. Also, provide a link to the call if you did record it. Be sure to keep your Project Manager in the loop so they can assist by following up on the agreed upon tasks and dates. Great communication between all team members, clients and consultants, coupled with documentation, will improve your rate of success and keep everyone accountable for their pieces of the project.
To find out how Vanessa or any of our consultants can help with your implementation contact us here.
Vanessa is a seasoned consultant experienced in the planning and implementation of complex client projects. She has deep expertise in HR/Payroll, Benefits, Recruiting, Onboarding, Talent Management, and Workforce Management. Vanessa is well prepared to assist in a successful end-to-end implementation while delivering an excellent customer experience. She particularly enjoys using her skill set in working with clients implementing UKG software in both Systems Consultant and Configuration Engineer roles.
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