You finally have permission to roll out the new HRIT system. It will drastically improve your employee experience and make HR standardised, auditable and more efficient, especially because your company embraces Employee Self Service (ESS) and Management Self Service (MSS). You have worked months towards this moment and when you are finally live, you celebrate big! But then, after a couple of weeks, user feedback is far from raving… Employees resent the new system, they don’t understand it, it doesn’t do what it promised to do, etc. In the end it turns out that seamless user adoption is not as easily achieved as you might have imagined.
Below you can find some useful tips on how to make your user adoption the key success factor in your deployment. Hence, our 6 things you can do to boost user adoption during HRIT implementation
1. Change management is more than a newsletter
User adoption is frequently underestimated and relegated to a couple of newsletters. A newsletter is a good way to inform your staff that change is coming but that cannot be the end of it. This is one of the reasons that our SuccessDay methodology talks about ‘user adoption’ instead of change & communications.
2. Use a model and appoint a change leader
Changing people’s behavior and their way of working is really a profession. Just look at the numerous books and gurus that try to help us on this subject. In our approach we have chosen the ADKAR model developed by Jeff Hiatt to guide us in our user adoption process from the start. In all fairness, Dr. John Kotter has also developed an excellent 8-step model that might inspire you.
Generally, we divide the process into three steps that each come with their own set of actions.
- Preparing the change
- Managing the change
- Reinforcing the change
Managing change is not something you can do in addition to an already full day’s work. It continues to surprise us how often a project gets a dedicated project manager, but a change lead gets only 3 hours per week next to their ordinary tasks. This while managing user adoption is vital for success (and reaching the business case).
3. Make it broader than the HR tool
We regularly come across a change process where communication is focused on the tool: the reasons why HR needs it and the positive changes it will accomplish for management and employees. In our experience, this is not enough to ensure user adoption. For both managers and employees it only feels as if more work is being shoved in their direction, which places the entire project in a negative light. Very often, however, there is a deeper vision underlying the shift towards a new HRIT system. Make sure this is communicated. Not only by HR or the project team but also by senior management. We often use Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle for this:
- Why are we changing
- How are we going to change
- What are we going to do.
The what in the last question is the implementation of your HRIT tool.
4. Identify different Personas
In our methodology we identify the various ‘personas’ within the organisation. We are convinced that each persona requires a specific approach when it comes to user adoption. The distinctions mainly depend on an employee’s or manager’s tech savviness and the number of actions they need to perform in the system. An operative (formerly called ‘blue collar’), for instance, would benefit from a different approach and explanation than an office employee (formally known as ‘white collar’).
5. Just-in-time training is not sufficient
Some sales representatives of software vendors might promise that their system is completely intuitive – ‘just like Facebook’ – and requires no training whatsoever. If only this were true. Obviously, a proper GUI will help navigating through an HRIT tool, and this aspect has improved tremendously throughout the last decade. Nonetheless, your employees and managers will still need some training. In many cases, the difficulty is not so much the HRIT tool as the changing processes, responsibilities en consequences of actions made.
We do believe in just-in-time training in the sense that you train people the moment the system goes live. For successful user adoption, however, this is not enough. Bare in mind that the average manager will only add a position or job requisition twice a year. This means there could be months between the training and the moment they actually apply the knowledge. In our methodology, we focus on a couple of things:
- HR should still be available for assistance after go live. When managers run into any issues, they need to be able to contact their HR business partner, regardless of the availability of training material. I have heard HR departments respond to requests with a: “No, we are using MSS now. You can go to Sharepoint and check the Quick Reference Card.” Needless to say, this leads to frustration and poor user adoption. In this case, HR could have said: “Let’s go to the support page on Sharepoint. Do you see the QRC? Now let’s do this together.” There is a fair cahnce that next time, the manager would solve the issue alone.
- Use User Adoption tooling. To tell the truth: videos and QRC’s are nice, but they have two serious drawbacks:
- Updates: New HRIT tooling is updated regularly. We have seen companies that had 100 QRCs and 20 videos that needed to be updated twice a year.
- Leaving the system: Whenever you want to check a QRC or video, you have to leave the system to open a PDF or video, and move back to the system. Today, you also have some cool adoption tooling at your disposal, like Walkme for instance. This software is a layer over your application. Users receive help without having to leave the system. We recommend you to use this type of software but also to make it part of the integral Support organisation to reduce the number of tickets and calls logged.
6. After-go-live check-in
Always finish your initial project with a proper user adoption evaluation survey. This will give you vital information on how the new HRIT tool is perceived and an opportunity, if necessary, to steer it in the right direction. However, it should not end there. In our methodology, we also run a check-in with HR end users 3 to 4 months after go live. During this health check we ‘audit’ if the system is used as it was intended. Are new managers and employees being trained properly? There usually is a lot of attention for the users at go live but this soon fades away for new hires. So please, check if the system is used as it should be, if the security model is still in place and if users are being trained just as thoroughly as during go live.
Bas Eggelaar, Programme Manager at SuccessDay. Currently supporting an international client (26.000 employees), with a worldwide rollout of SuccessFactors.
SuccessDay is an HR consultancy specialising in Employee Journey, HRIT and People Analitics. It offers independent advice and support before, during and after a company’s transition to a new digital HRIT/HCM system like Workday, SuccessFactors or Talentsoft. With its global experience and expertise, SuccessDay helps organisations focus on their employee experience for an efficient, effective HR transformation.