Written by Elisabeth Jordan
Rolling out a new HR system is exciting! You’ve spent countless hours designing, building, testing and training. You’ve got the tool configured just the way you want it, and you’re ready to start using it. Before any go-live, make sure you are asking the important questions, and giving stakeholders the right information. Communications and change management are often after-thoughts on projects, but that can be a huge down-fall. A great tool or system won’t help change anything if nobody knows about it, or how to use it.
Make sure you tell stakeholders everything they need to know, but be careful not to bombard them with irrelevant details. You want to engage them, not scare them off or have them ignoring you because you fill up their inbox. When looking at employee and manager communications, consider some of the following questions to ensure you’re giving pertinent information:
- How/why did you decide to make this change? Was there a problem you were trying to solve? Was there a change in the marketplace?
- Which stakeholder groups participated? Were they represented on the project team? Making sure they feel like their voices were heard goes a long way in getting buy-in.
- How will the new system make their work life better/worse? Be honest! Give them the Pros to help sell it, but let them know the Cons too. Be up-front about the challenges they may encounter, and you might find them more receptive. Wait for them to find out the Cons on their own and you may never recover.
- Will the new tool/system have a direct impact on them? Will it affect any of their processes? If they need to adjust how they do things, give them a chance to get a strategy in place.
- Will it affect their pay? If the answer to this is Yes, then you really need to over-communicate! Make sure you give details and examples of exactly what changes are coming. People do not like when you mess with their money, but if they understand what’s happening before it happens, you have a fighting chance of good adoption.
- Will it change their opinion of the company/culture? If you’re making their lives better and changing your culture, make sure they know about it!
- Where/how can they get more info if they need it? Always, always, always make sure they know where to go in case they need more information than what you provided. There are always unique situations and there are always exceptions.
Ever heard the saying that Timing is Everything? It’s true, especially with organizational communications. You want to make sure stakeholders have the information they need, when they need it. Tell them too early, and they’ll forget what you said. Tell them too late, and they won’t have time to react and adapt. Either of those could be a recipe for disaster. Consider the following when looking at communications timing:
- Will they remember? Are you sending out communications too early? You can’t expect them to remember in June something you told them in January.
- Will they care? Is the message relevant to the audience, or are you broadcasting something that will only affect a niche population? If the new tool/system only affects benefits for your US population, there’s no need to notify your global employees outside the US.
- Will they have enough time to adjust? If they have to make changes based on the new tool/system, make sure you’re telling them in enough time to do that. For example, if the change will affect how or when they’re paid, they may need time to adjust their auto-drafts at their bank.
- Are you giving them time to ask questions? No matter how great a job you think you’ve done, there will almost always be questions. Make sure you’re giving enough time for questions to be asked and answered.
- Are you delivering communications in a way that is respectful of their time? Forcing everyone into a four hour meeting for a minor change will leave your teams feeling like you wasted their time. For small changes, consider an email or mailer campaign, with voluntary lunch-and-learns. For larger changes, consider web conferences to introduce the change with follow-up emails/mailers to provide the nitty gritty details.
Delivering a great tool or system is important for the effectiveness and efficiency of your organization, but if nobody knows it’s there or how to use it, you’ve wasted your time. Let HRchitect help you create a Change Management and Communication Strategy that will work for you to make sure your organization realizes all the benefits of your new tool or system. We have worked with many different sized clients, industries, and systems, which gives us an expansive knowledge of best practice to help your organization. Further, if you are in the market for a new or replacement system, HRchitect’s Secure Selection process will help to ensure you choose the right system for your organization’s needs. Or if you have an existing HCM system, we can help with implementation and/or optimization to ensure that your organization gets the most from your new technology and that your investment continues working best for your organization.
About Elisabeth Jordan, Senior Implementation Consultant
Elisabeth is a Senior HCM Implementation Services Consultant with the HRchitect Consulting team. She has more than 15 years of experience in talent management and recruiting, with a focus on HR technology implementation and management with Oracle PeopleSoft and Taleo and Project Management for HR.