This Month Only! >> $20 off and a FREE SHRM tote with your membership and code TOTE2018!
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Illustration by Roy Scott for HR Magazine.
Change can be scary. When implementing new technologies at work, employees are often concerned that new tools will be harder to use than the old ones. And they fear that advances in technology will make their jobs more complicated or, even worse, obsolete.
But anxiety doesn’t have to rule the day. Offering proper training and support—and helping employees feel invested in the implementation process—can go a long way toward making technology deployments successful, says Katherine Jones, a partner and director of talent research for Mercer.
"Seventy percent of software implementations are considered failures; that is huge," Jones says. Done right, however, "there is no reason for the change aspects of software implementation to ever cause your organization [to be among] that 70 percent."
A 2016 Mercer survey of HR professionals about their top five implementation challenges found that:
The best way to manage a tech implementation is to anticipate what it might mean for workers and to address employees’ concerns proactively, she says.
On the first day of the new technology’s deployment, be prepared to respond to questions staff may ask, such as "What do I have to do differently? Do I have the skills to succeed at it? Will I get sufficient training time, and what changes can I expect?"
Organizations should consider what day one looks like for anyone affected by new software, even those at the highest levels, Jones recommends.
Keep in mind that workers’ hesitance to adopt new systems may be based on previous experience. "Our HR landscape today consists of disparate systems, redundant HR processes, stand-alone apps, decentralized data stores, irreconcilable reports, and aging and overly customized solutions and fragmented employee data," Jones says. "It’s confusing for people who have to make changes."
That turned out to be the case several years ago when Avon Products Inc. was forced to halt a massive multiyear software project. The rollout of a new product ordering system not only disrupted regular operations but also proved so difficult that a significant number of sales representatives left the company.
Jones advises organizations to support employees by providing information and reassurance and making sure employees understand the change and are ready to implement it.
"If you can’t get people to change, nothing is going to happen," she says, noting that employee acceptance is a factor for any major project, whether an employer is installing new enterprise resource planning software or a new human resource management system, moving to the cloud, or outsourcing.
Be honest with workers about the implications, especially if the technology will make someone’s job obsolete either now or eventually, Jones advises.
Focus on People,
To keep HR technology projects on track, Tom Sonde, principal at SilverRoad Solutions, a New Jersey-based management consulting firm specializing in business improvement, offers the following tips:
An HR technology implementation isn’t a one-time event, so understand that the process will require time and commitment. "Keeping people engaged over the course of the journey is important," Jones says, whether they agree with the change or not. In addition, "consider who is critical to the project—who is influential and how important their buy-in is to the project. You’re going to have to change the average employee, but first you need to figure out who is going to be on your side."
How do you do this? "One of the easiest ways is to ask them. Conduct surveys, repeat pulse surveys and hold focus groups," she suggests. "Remember, people’s views change over the course of the project."
D. Wright is an online editor/manager at SHRM.
[SHRM members-only toolkit: How
to Select an HRIS]
Was this article
useful? SHRM offers thousands of tools, templates and other exclusive member
benefits, including compliance updates, sample policies, HR expert advice,
education discounts, a growing online member community and much more. Join/Renew Now and let SHRM help you work smarter.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
HR Education in a City Near You
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies