Written by: Elissa Montoya
A global implementation of any HR technology application is a daunting undertaking. The decision to harmonize or compartmentalize dueling business processes, the need to understand and respect different cultures, and the complexity of a global calendar considering both time zones and holidays, can be a bit mind blowing at first blush.
From a talent acquisition and onboarding perspective, HRchitect’s implementation teams have led clients through several different rollout strategies across our global implementations. These strategies may seem obvious but the underlying success of the project, regardless of the approach, is far more complex.
Standard Global Rollout Strategies:
- Country by Country approach – this requires a longer project timeline but allows for country specific focus and consideration.
- Regional approach – this approach is common and generally lumps APAC, EMEA, NAM and LATAM together as groups of countries. The organization must agree on a regional design and business processes. Generally, there is a country in each region which leads the design decisions.
- “Big Bang” approach – with this approach the system is implemented around the globe all at once. With this approach, design considerations must include global dialogue throughout the entire design process, and should drive global business process consistencies, while allowing for regional differences as required.
This case study focuses on our client McGraw-Hill Education. Their organization chose to take the Big Bang approach. As you may already have assumed, this is by far the most challenging implementation strategy in many ways. However, as mentioned above there are very specific factors which contribute to the success of the implementation, regardless of how you go about the actual deployment. In the case of a Big Bang, the most crucial element is a strong project charter which has been developed and socialized across the entire organization. That doesn’t mean every region, or country, will be excited about the new vision, we can only hope that will come with time and influencing. But it does mean carefully examining your organization’s readiness for new technology, and being realistic in your Change Management plan as to who the great detractors will be, and how you will go about working through those challenges.
But before we even get to the charter, what proved in many ways to be the underlying success of McGraw-Hill was preplanning. A global implementation does not start when you begin your evaluation and RFP process, and it certainly doesn’t start when you begin your actual implementation. Everything outlined in the above paragraph must be complete in the year prior to any engagement of partners. Laying the groundwork for this kind of transformation takes time and patience. At the time of our engagement with McGraw-Hill Education as their implementation team, hundreds of hours had already been spent engaging the business owners in dialogue about business process, collecting their feedback, and strategizing on the best way to approach a new and transformative global process.
In the case of McGraw-Hill Education, a true harmonization of business process including a global RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) was planned and achieved, but with caveats based on region/country, in order to maintain sensitivity to both company and country culture. While the majority of implementation and design activities were carried out in the United States, the kick off meeting was held in Europe and involved representatives from all regions. Throughout the process, the global business leader and owner of the new application (Oracle Taleo) continued to communicate well and often, listen to regional concerns, and leverage influence so as to prevent a splintered business process. She also had a very strong project manager who helped keep everyone’s eyes, globally, on the charter they had all agreed upon, and what needed to happen to fulfill that charter. This was no easy feat. There were daily 4AM calls which came with daily push back. There was a lot of give and take on all sides of the business with exceptional negotiations on the part of the HR leaders to help each member of the global team understand that one vision would garner them a stronger and leaner Talent Acquisition process across the globe.
In addition to all the pre-work and the extensive “behind the scenes” change management work done throughout the implementation, HRchitect and McGraw-Hill Education partnered closely together to deliver a truly global training program. Our Educational Consultant along with the US Human Resources/Talent Acquisition leader traveled literally around the world providing in person training sessions to all direct system users. Those sessions included practical knowledge, but also continued their change management and “selling” of the system, especially in the regions feeling less comfort in the change. This step was obviously an additional cost on the front end of deployment, and took an incredible amount of planning, but McGraw-Hill Education’s big bang go live was virtually flawless as a result. Hypercare, the 30 day period immediately following a system go live, was quiet. The noise calmed and the entire globe went live on the same day with virtually no disruption. It should also be mentioned that the HR team that pulled all of this off consisted of less than 10 people.
To say that the change this small team pulled off in less than a year was impressive would be an understatement. More than a transformative experience for just McGraw-Hill Education, it was also a transformative experience for my colleagues and me. HRchitect has been involved in many of the most complex HCM implementations and we truly love working on projects like these with our clients. We can’t wait to be a part of your organization’s next HCM implementation!
Elissa is an HR professional with over 15 years of HR experience in the world of Talent Acquisition, General Human Resources & Project Management. Throughout her career, Elissa has worked with companies across many industries from small to Fortune 500 with a focus on optimizing their Recruiting and Onboarding processes and managing large scale projects.
In her role at HRchitect, she acts as both project manager and functional consultant on the implementation team. Elissa is both a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).