Slow & Steady: Setting the Pace for a Successful HCM Implementation

October 3, 2023

By Daniel Romero

Picture of turtle with slow and steady wins the race as the caption.

Congratulations! Your organization has decided to switch HCM/Payroll providers. Perhaps your old system was outdated, or your team outgrew its functionality. Maybe you’re switching to aggregate multiple systems into one cloud solution. In the fast-paced world of business, transitions are inevitable. Whatever the reason, these are exciting times for your team! Imagine all the time this new system will save you. How you’ll be able to improve your workflow and free up your day. You may be asking yourself, “When can we start? “Perhaps you are familiar with the fable of “The Tortoise and the Hare.” At the start of the race, the hare speeds off into the distance, only to run out of steam midway through the race and needs to slow down. Meanwhile, despite starting at a slower speed, the tortoise can maintain the pace and make it to the finish line, winning the race! While we may not all be lacing up our sneakers for our next big race, this story has a great lesson we can apply to your organization’s HCM transition and preparing for an HCM Implementation. 

Set the Pace; Understand the Plan

As HR practitioners, we understand the temptation to dive headfirst into this new HCM implementation, but there are many things to consider before moving to a new system. You and your project team must take the time to plan every step to ensure you’re tackling the complete system implementation and integrations. Understanding the complexity will position your organization for a smooth and successful go-live. Deadlines need to be understood and included in the plan. Organizational goals are what you need to strive for; however, the implementation process also needs to be well understood. Taking the time to work through the complex steps of the configuration will always lead to a better result. Focusing solely on meeting target dates or succumbing to external pressures when the project or team is not ready only leads to unnecessary stress. Let’s explore how success is achieved by exercising patience and allowing a thorough approach when transitioning from one HCM system to another.

Build a Solid Foundation

Picture of a building foundation as a metaphor for your implementation

You can’t put a roof on your house if you haven’t built the walls yet! In the same vein, it makes no sense to focus your time and energy on parts of the HCM Implementation project that haven’t occurred yet, leaving the current steps by the wayside. Getting out of step with items dependent on each other increases the potential for delays in the process, as there will likely be a lot of back and forth as you discover skipped steps that were critical to the discovery and build phases.

The employee import is one of these critical steps. For example, you can’t hire employees into non-existent work locations. There’s always room to make modifications and additions to your configuration as the project moves along, but ensuring things like accrual rules, taxation rules, and benefit plans are correctly configured the first time around will make for an easier import of your employees’ information. 

Maintain Data Integrity

As anyone in the HR field can tell you, the most essential part of your organization, no matter what industry you’re in, are the people! When all is said and done, the last thing you need is an inbox full of unhappy employee emails because their data is incorrect. When transitioning from one HR/payroll system to another, the integrity of your employee’s data must be a top priority. Rushing the process increases the likelihood of errors, such as incomplete or inaccurate data migration. However, reviewing and validating every field, from names to tax elections to bank account information (and everything in between!) before the transition, ensures that this critical employee information will be accurately imported. With a high level of data integrity, your organization can avoid disruptions in payroll processing, employee benefits, and other crucial HR functions. This will safeguard the trust and confidence of your teams. Work with your HCM Implementation Consultant to understand the complete checklist for your organization’s configuration.

Minimize Disruptions

Switching HCM systems is already a massive change for your organization, but a rushed transition can cause significant disruptions to day-to-day operations throughout your company. The implementation process requires thorough testing, training, plus an adjustment period to iron out issues. Then you can finalize that first live payroll. By allowing sufficient time for these tasks, you can minimize disruptions, avoid downtime, and maintain business as usual (as much as possible) for your team members. Providing ample time for training and support ensures an excellent user experience and reduces frustration and resistance to change, leading to increased productivity and happy employees!

Maximize Your HCM Implementation Investment

Investing in a new HCM system involves significant financial investment. Maximize your investment by taking the time to understand:

  • The system’s capabilities
  • Your organization’s goals
  • How to integrate the systems effectively

Choose an Implementation partner that can walk you through these crucial steps. With this partner, complete your due diligence to maximize your ROI (Return on Investment). Focus on configuring the system to meet your specific needs. Discuss how to implement best practices with the help of your solutions consultant. Leverage advanced features and analytics tools to help make future decision-making a reality. A well-executed transition process allows organizations to harness the full potential of the new system, leading to improved efficiency and cost savings.

We get it. As an implementation partner, we have done this over and over. The thought of streamlining your business process and, more importantly, making your life easier is exciting! While the urge to rush through implementation from one HCM/payroll system to another is understandable, taking the time needed for a well-planned and thorough transition to build a firm foundation for your people data to exist in and maximize your company’s investment is essential. As they say, “Slow and steady wins the race!”  

Let us help you win the race with a successful HCM implementation. For more information, contact HRchitect to find out how we can put you on the road to success. 

About the Author

Photo of blog author, Daniel Romero

Daniel Romero, a Certified Payroll Professional, brings several years of experience in HCM consulting to the HRchitect team. His experience includes HCM consulting and also time at software vendor UKG (previously Ultimate Software). He has extensive UKG HCM product knowledge. Daniel effectively assists clients with developing and deploying their UKG Pro suite of products. He is also very experienced in working alongside the client-side payroll, HR, and tax professionals.

Daniel earned his B.S. from Florida International University. He gained his Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) from the American Payroll Association in 2020.

Learn more about Daniel at LinkedIN here.

Further Reading

You might wonder, is there a good time to update your organization’s accruals policy? Read more on this topic: “New HCM System? Maximize success with updated Accrual Policies!”

The HRchitect Advantage

Ready to select a new HCM system? Read about “The enormous advantage to YOU when your consulting firm works with more than one HCM vendor.”