Workarounds Lead to System Breakdowns

April 9, 2019

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Written by Drew Simmons

Think back to the last time you had an issue with your car.  When you found that the air in your tires was low, or you needed a tune-up or an oil change, was your first thought, “Oh well, it’s time to shop for a new car?”.  Probably not.  Well, some organizations take this approach with their Human Capital Management (HCM) systems.  Many companies think that if their HCM system doesn’t instantly meet 100% of the organization’s requirements after go-live, for example containing bad data or not providing analytical reports, that it is time for a new system.  This is a knee-jerk reaction that can prove very costly for an organization.  Instead of evaluating and purchasing a new HCM system, it may be time for a system optimization first.


Here are some clues to indicate when you may need to consider a system optimization:

  1. Frequent use of the word “workaround” when trying to find solutions
    In my work with clients, I have found that the word “workaround” is nothing but trouble when trying to find solutions in the world of HCM. Workarounds imply that there is a bigger problem that must be addressed, but the organization may not be willing to deal with it for a multitude of reasons.  The analogy that comes to mind here is “putting a band-aid on a broken leg”.  Workarounds do not fix problems; they exacerbate them.  The best thing to do is to take the time to deploy a long-term strategy that will address the problem.  Workarounds are bad news and often lead to more system process break downs in the long-run.


  1. Maintaining manual spreadsheets or exporting data to excel for further analysis
    Most HCM products offer very comprehensive business intelligence solutions that enable companies to extract and interpret meaningful data, that offers the potential to positively impact organizational performance. Many systems deliver tools that allow users to create complex calculations and functions within the reporting tool.  Do you find the need to frequently export your data to Excel to apply such computations and formula updates?  Is there any data that you feel is “too complex” to be imported into your HCM system, so you keep manual spreadsheets to store it?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, it is a sign that your system settings need to be examined.


  1. Manual processes to circumvent an automated system
    Modern HCM technology can automate much of the work that has historically been manual for HR technology practitioners. Examples include automated business process workflows that facilitate approval of HR transactions for job and salary changes, new hires, and terminations.  Many systems are also able to facilitate conditional workflow approval (e.g., if a salary increase exceeds 5%, the CFO must be included in the workflow approval; otherwise not).  If your organization has a system that has automation functionality, but has been hesitant to use it, this could be an indication that the data in the system needs to be evaluated to enable the usefulness of these business processes.


The process to deploy a Human Capital Management System can be a time-consuming and costly undertaking.  After all the effort, it is critical to make sure that your organization is maximizing its return-on-investment.  A system optimization project will alleviate the need for your HR team to find workarounds and will support the elimination of manual processes. This will enable your team to become more involved with managing the business and meeting the strategic goals of the organization, which is a far more valuable use of time.


If you need assistance with conducting a system optimization, HRchitect can help.  Over the past two decades, HRchitect has helped thousands of organizations across the globe align their HCM technology initiatives with business objectives to achieve extraordinary results. HRchitect is a name you can trust, and your one-stop shop for all your HCM technology needs from strategy, evaluation/selection, implementation, change management, ongoing support, and everything in between.


About Drew Simmons

Drew Simmons, HCM Implementation Services Consultant, has over 25 years of experience in the field of Human Resources.  Drew began his career as an HRIS practitioner but has also worked in the areas of Recruiting, Benefits, Compensation, Diversity and Inclusion, and HR Management.  Drew has worked in a multitude of industries that include banking and finance, healthcare, public relations, marketing and communications, and advertising.  Drew’s experience has given him a proven record of accomplishment in project management, system implementation, conflict resolution, and troubleshooting critical business issues.