Written by: Andrew Schweihs
Values have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My parents instilled them in me from a young age. As a youth, I was involved in the Boy Scouts and YMCA, organizations with values at the core of their foundations.
As I have developed my professional career, values have been a part of all the organizations I have worked. In some cases, these values were just words on the wall or corporate jargon nobody paid attention. However, in recent years, I have seen how living and working by a set of strong values can create top performing organizations and teams. I’ve had the privilege of working for a couple of organizations that truly put values first. Values were ingrained into the culture of these organizations and they hired, trained and developed employees based on a core system of values. I saw firsthand the passion and excellence that resulted from a culture of values that I have carried on and developed as I have transitioned into consulting.
A core set of values is crucial to the success of a Human Capital Management (HCM) system implementation. When consultants and the client work by following a set of values, implementation projects will be successful and come in on time and on budget. This, of course, leads to satisfied clients and an environment where both parties will want to continue to build on a long term partnership.
It is no surprise that communication plays a key role in a successful consulting engagement, but good communication isn’t enough. An exceptional consultant communicates directly, candidly and with respect. They can’t sit on the sidelines, but must be engaged and willing to provide feedback. Great implementation consultants work with clients to understand ways things can be done differently and make recommendations on changes to processes or procedures. At the same time, the best consultants know they don’t have the answers all of the time. The best consultants aren’t afraid to ask for help or get feedback from others, in fact they look at this as a means to develop and grow professionally; a way to help their clients.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Too often this gets lost in our professional lives. Everyone is busy and has deadlines and demands, but we need to consider how our actions are impacting others. In consulting, there are a lot of demands that can be placed on both clients and consultants. All parties should make a conscious effort to treat each other with the utmost respect and professionalism. We’ve all been in meetings when someone has lost their cool and have seen how a situation like that can derail a project, not to mention all motivation for successful project completion gets sucked out of the room. Consultants and clients that feel respected and valued work harder towards a common goal. Ultimately, this will make a project more successful.
Consultants are constantly facing new and unique challenges. They must be willing and able to try new things and think outside the box to solve problems. A consultant faces new challenges on a daily basis and has to be willing to take them head on, try new solutions and not be afraid to fail. It’s important for a consulting firm to recognize and support taking well-intentioned and calculated risks. Projects are more successful and creative when clients support taking risks as well. When clients are willing to try out new ideas or recommendations without knowing the exact outcome, there can be valuable lessons learned and great improvements to systems and process.
I’ve come to believe that curiosity is one of the more important values for consultants. A good consultant always wants to know why things are done a certain way, and asks questions to fully understand the client’s business, their internal processes and how their unique needs will fit into the system being implemented. Great consultants take the time to learn how systems work so they can address client business needs and address questions throughout the course of a project.
As a consultant, I love seeing this same curiosity and willingness to learn from clients. I want to see the client project team asking questions on how systems work. I love when clients take initiative to learn the systems inside and out and push me to provide them with the why and how, versus just accepting things the way they are. Soaking up knowledge is critical to the success of any implementation.
It goes without saying that working with speed is important to the success of an HCM implementation project. Consultants and clients have to be committed to meeting and beating deadlines throughout all phases of a project. Clients and consultants must push each other to move fast and respond to requests quickly, balancing speed of work with the quality of work in order to move projects along and stay ahead of deadlines.
Change is inevitable in the world of business and HCM implementations. People working on projects change, client’s needs can change mid-project, and different variables can come into play at any given time. Consultants have to be able to embrace this change and work through everything while staying productive and on goal. New intricacies or challenges are thrown at consultants constantly, and our number one goal is to work through solutions to all of these challenges, even when we may not necessarily agree with a particular change for whatever reason.
At HRchitect, we offer an outstanding array of consultants for all phases of your HCM technology needs. We can provide you and your organization with assistance from formulating an HCM technology strategy, evaluating and selecting the correct software or solution, project management and implementation services, as well as change management assistance. We also have a team of system experts who are able to review your current technology and recommend ways to optimize your systems to provide better return on investment.
About Andrew Schweihs
Andrew is a Senior Implementation Consultant bringing over 10 years of professional Human Resources experience to the HRchitect team. Andrew started his career as a functional HR Business Partner before transitioning his focus to HRIS. Andrew’s HR experience covers a wide variety of industries including technology, retail, travel, and non-profit. This functional and technical experience provides Andrew with a unique perspective on how HR organizations work and a proven ability to design and operate highly effective HCM systems.