Best Practice for a Successful Talent Management Technology Implementation

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1 Best Practice for a Successful Talent Management Technology Implementation Contents 1 How to Prepare 2 Document Your Current Process 3 Replicate vs. Reinvent 4 Consider Employee Impact 5 Gather Your Data 6 Assign Accountability 7 Conclusion Introduction Adoption of technology solutions to streamline succession planning and performance management by US companies is on the rise as CEO s continue to recognize the value of having such systems in place. If you have been the one tasked with selecting the vendor and managing the process, there are a few things you should consider before embarking on your journey into the technology implementation. Opting to automate your processes is taking a huge step in moving toward best practices in talent management one that may reap great results over the course of time. While selecting the right vendor for your company is crucial because of the large capital outlay and time involved, your focus should be on the implementation and change management processes involved after the contract is signed, so you ll want to consider your organizational readiness. You may also want to consider hiring a consultant to guide you through the process if most of what you are reading here is new to your organization. Use this document to help outline requirements for the solution for which you are searching. It will also provide guidelines to ensure your organization is prepared to handle the roadblocks that could put your project over budget and enable it to take on a life of its own. The size of your organization will most likely dictate how long it will take to complete each step. Typically, the larger the company, the more lead time is needed to prepare for the implementation process. If you are considering software to support a cyclical process, such as annual performance appraisals, expect the process to take a little longer than originally planned. Many organizations need several months to prepare for new software that will be deployed organization wide. To help, you ll want to develop a plan for training users on the process and supporting the day-to-day use of the product once it has gone live within your organization. Here are five steps to complete as thoroughly as possible before you begin your search for a vendor. This process usually takes at least three months to finish. 1. Document your current process 2. Replicate vs. Reinvent 3. Consider Employee Impact 4. Be Prepared to Start 5. Assign Accountability 1

2 How to Prepare Define Goals, Measure Success When launching a new project of this magnitude, take time to define a scope for it, and define the project s goals and how you ll measures of success. Your goal may be as simple as increasing the number of candidates a recruiter can qualify in a week, or as complex as determining who is in line and capable for management roles. Either way, defining the goals up front will help you focus on the important aspects of the new software. It will also help you decide which features are and are not important to your organization. Planning ahead will reduce the possibility of scope creep, which happens when you start to implement a piece of software and then decide that while we re at it can we do X? This inevitably leads to a longer implementation time, rising costs and, ultimately, greater difficulty in managing change within your organization. Document Your Current Process When considering a software purchase to address a process whether large or small it is important to document the process before you speak with vendors. In doing so, you can ensure you are not easily influenced by flashy features you won t need or use, and you can judge the impact the change will have on your organization, so you better manage change and accurately set timeframe expectations. On a side note, you shouldn t refuse any features or aspects of the software just because you hadn t thought of them, but you ll definitely want to have a basic list of needs in mind when you talk to your vendor. In the course of documenting your process, it is important not to overlook three major aspects of each process step. 1. Exceptions: Exceptions usually start with Except when, Unless, Only when, Only If, But, However, etc. 2. Manual Effort: This includes things like Then Mike has to type in all the order numbers for the month end report. Be sure to include how many hours per FTE this step takes on a weekly or monthly basis. 3. Process Impact: If this step doesn t occur or execute correctly, does the whole process breakdown? Exceptions If an exception highly impacts your process, be prepared to pay for it. Out of the ordinary requests typically cost additional money because they require a customization to the application. Consider carefully whether the exception is an attempt to ensure the integrity of the process, or whether it is intended to counteract a breakdown, or possible breakdown, in the process. Building an exception into the application to prevent a possible future breakdown in the process may actually make your software operate worse. For example, one organization recently requested a vendor add in a third approval process to ensure the salary range for a job requisition wasn t over budget. By working with their vendor, they realized it would be more efficient to have the software customized to check against departmental budgets automatically and allow the requisition to be edited right then. These kinds of realizations can be uncovered during a thorough discovery of your current process. Manual Effort For process steps with a high amount of manual effort, assess how the considered software will reduce that manual effort. Have the person who currently performs the manual work keep a log for a week, noting the amount of time spent on the task. This process will allow you to reasonably gauge the value of a particular time-saving feature, and will give you an idea of how much you will save in full-time employee (FTE) productivity. When you realize a time-saving feature included in the software will potentially save your company $5,000 per year in FTE salary, you may be able to put $5,000 more in your budget for exceptions or feature enhancements that are truly necessary. Process Impact Probably the least discussed topic in the sales cycle, but the most important to document is the process impact. Very often, a particular process step is believed to have greater or less impact than it truly does. Many companies have fought hard for a change to an application because they believed their process would break down without it, only to discover after the software was implemented, that the change wasn t as important in practice. It may also have been rendered unnecessary with the use of software itself. Conversely, some managers have removed a step in the process that, unbeknownst to them, had a far-reaching and highly visible impact on the organization. 2

3 Replicate vs. Reinvent The decision to replicate or reinvent your current process carries with it certain risks. Replication tends to increase your cost to implement, whereas reinvention tends to increase your time to implement. The maturity and breadth of your internal HR processes and the general sense of the current process success are all elements to figure into your decision to replicate or reinvent. Replication Most HR processes are developed over time in response to environmental pressures such as government regulation, market forces or efficiency initiatives. Attempting to mold a standardized piece of software to mimic a current unique process or replicate the process causes rising costs. Consider how much customization will be required to replicate the process, and be aware that exact replication may be impossible. When applications are developed, software architects and engineers identify and address nearly every reasonable contingency to an application behavior, ensuring the system knows what to do at all time. When trying to replicate a process that has been built over time, and across departments, a system must still be able to handle pop-up issues and exceptions gracefully so your company can continue to function. Pro: Change management across impacted employee populations will be less because everyone is already familiar with the current process and may only have to re-learn a few things about that process. Con: Your cost will rise because your current process is the result of a reaction to a breakdown in the process, where a contingency plan wasn t developed (nor could it have been developed) for every possible problem that could arise during its execution. Reinvention Reinventing your process gives you the freedom to assess and improve your current process. Most likely improvements can be made to your current process to make your company more efficient, agile and productive. Reinventing your process also allows you time to review what other companies may be doing that you hadn t thought of. Even if you are reinventing, documenting your current process helps highlight the areas of weakness and gives you the opportunity to address them, and set your organization up for success. Pro: Cost is usually lower when you reinvent because you can easily take advantage of existing feature sets in the considered software. Con: Your change management process for affected employees could mean a longer training period or a steeper learning curve. Assess whether the time to stride is outweighed by the long-term advantage of a more streamlined process. Consider Employee Impact No matter what type of software you are implementing, employees or a representative of the employees who will be using the software everyday should be included in the selection process. Getting their input will help ensure a quicker and higher rate of user adoption. Too often, buying decisions are made by managers or HR staff members who are not the daily users of the system. This can lead to disillusionment with the software before it is even deployed. User adoption is crucial to the success of your software deployment. Having a good change management process in place, receiving good input from the software s users and stakeholders, will help facilitate your success. 3

4 There are a couple of things to consider when you are assessing employee impact. When consider software in which the target user is a specific group, like in the case of a Talent Acquisition system, the impact of the new solution within the organization is smaller and easier to manage. If you are considering a new system that could, potentially, be used by every employee within the organization, such as a Talent Performance system, the change process will need to be much more defined and expectations will need to be effectively managed from the front-line up to the CEO. In addition, software that impacts a large portion of your organization needs to be flexible enough to accommodate a diverse group of people and will require more time to implement. Gather Your Data Many implementations become delayed when a client is unable to provide timely feedback or information to the vendor. This is particularly the case with ASP hosted or license software. Your timeline will suffer if items such as competencies in a performance appraisal haven t been determined ahead of time. Documenting your process before you begin searching for a vendor will help you be responsive when implementing your software. Here are some of the key hurdles to timely and successful implementation: 1. Accurate Employee Data 2. Competency Models 3. Accurate Job Data 4. Skill Models 5. Accurate Company Information such as departments, divisions, etc. Most software can be implemented in 4-8 weeks if you have already spent time documenting this information before the start of implementation. Don t assume details can be easily spelled out once a vendor has been selected. Certain data points are common to all software implementations in the HR space; these need to be gathered up front. Assign Accountability It is important to assign accountability to a single person or a small group of people. This reduces internal conflict that may arise when no one is empowered to make a decision or the right person can t be found in time to approve a decision regarding the software. Very often, project managers have difficulty making timely decisions due to a lack of feedback from the appropriate stakeholder. Consider giving the ultimate responsibility for the success of the implementation to one person and then rewarding them when the software is implemented on or ahead of time. If assigning accountability to one person isn t feasible for the size of your project, assign responsibility to a small group of people based on process scope. For example, perhaps three people are responsible for the successful implementation of your Talent Performance system. One person might be responsible for decisions related to executives, another to decisions related to appraisal workflows, and the third for all other decisions. This helps to ensure everyone involved has a narrow scope and enough authority to make decisions in a timely manner. Regardless of your method for dividing responsibility, always assign only one project manager to handle the interaction between your company and your vendor. This creates the opportunity for one person to see trends that may be missed by a committee and it also gives you a single point of contact internally to go to for progress reports and status updates. Conclusion Deciding to purchase HR software is sometimes a difficult and time-consuming process, but it can be mitigated by doing your homework first and being prepared. Learn your organization s processes, know what you want and need and be prepared to provide the necessary data to your vendor. Expect to spend more time with your people and your organization than with your vendor to implement, and have the successful execution of, your newly purchased HR software. Remember: 1. Define Goals 2. Document Processes 3. Decide to Replicate or Reinvent 4. Consider Employee Impact 5. Gather Your Data 6. Assign Accountability 4

5 World Headquarters: United States 2291 Wood Oak Drive Herndon, VA Worldwide Locations: Belgium +32 (0) Denmark Germany Düsseldorf +49 (211) Netherlands +31(0) Norway Sweden +46 (0) United Kingdom London +44 (0) Stay Connected: Deltek is the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for government contractors, professional services firms and other project- and people-based businesses. For decades, we have delivered actionable insight that empowers our customers to unlock their business potential. 20,000 organizations and millions of users in over 80 countries around the world rely on Deltek to research and identify opportunities, win new business, recruit and develop talent, optimize resources, streamline operations and deliver more profitable projects. Deltek Know more. Do more Deltek, Inc. All rights reserved. All referenced trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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