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Janine Milne

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In a Nutshell: Five tips when rolling out HR software


In January, Jack Morton Worldwide completed a global roll-out of a new performance management system from SAP’s Software-as-a-Service acquisition, SuccessFactors.

The system replaced bespoke applications so the brand experience agency was determined to reapply the lessons learned from its first implementation in order to ensure that its second one went as smoothly as possible.

HR Director and senior vice president, Fiona Lawlor, talks through some of the key lessons learned along the way:

1. Keep it simple

When you go out and evaluate software providers, the systems that they show you appear to be all-singing-and-all-dancing. But don’t be dazzled by all of those functions when you may not need them.
We just took a simple package and will add to it over the years, as and when we need to do so. It’s difficult enough for people to switch to new software at the best of times, so my advice is don’t confuse them with add-ons that they may never use.

2. Test, test and test again

If someone tells you that there won’t be any technical issues, don’t believe them! Spend time getting feedback from users because inevitably, once you start using the system, you will find lots of things that you, and they, want to change.

This is particularly true in today’s work environment where people are not only accessing information from their desktop, but potentially from their iPads and other mobile devices as well. So you need to check that everyone can access that information easily.

3. Train – and keep on training

Be prepared to spend a lot of time on training, not only before people use the new software, but also once they’ve started using it in earnest.

We ran training programmes before the system went live but, inevitably, when people get back to their desks and try to use it themselves a week or two later, they have forgotten a lot of the steps.

So you need to have the resources in place to provide them with training boosters when they need it.

4. Review the system regularly

Keep revisiting the system to see how it can be improved upon and get as much feedback as you can from users.

Our system only went live in January, so at the moment we are reviewing the software every two weeks and plan to have a global meeting to talk about what’s working well and what’s not.

And then we go back to SuccessFactors with a list of things that we want the company to do. So the lesson there is don’t just accept the product as it is and think you have to live with it. You don’t.

5. Reset goals

Don’t think of the initiative as just implementing a piece of software. Instead it is a great opportunity to refocus individuals on the importance of a performance review discussion.

So when we did our training, we didn’t just teach people how to use the new software – we also saw it as an opportunity to talk to them about the processes involved.

We likewise spent time with senior managers in order to coach them in the best way to carry out a performance review.

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