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Softworld feature – getting buy-in for implementing an e-HR system

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Softworld HR and Payroll exhibition 2003At the Softworld HR and Payroll 2003 event, Microsoft’s Jennifer Griffin, Marketing Director, HR and Payroll gave a presentation about how achieving buy-in from employees throughout the organisation around e-HR is vital in order for the implementation of a new system to succeed. Here, we give a brief summary of the key points covered by the presentation.



Putting in place an HR system can achieve benefits but whether they are achieved will depend on a number of factors. It’s important to understand the needs of the different audiences involved and to communicate the benefits of the system to them. Getting buy-in is important because it raises the profile of the project, allows those involved to justify the need for funds quicker and easier, and raises credibility for both the project and those involved. There is also a benefit to the organisation in terms of disseminating best practice and showing a return on investment.

Achieving successful buy-in involves the following:

  • Pre-plannning: This includes internal data gathering, costs and trends, also establishing opportunity costs – asking those in HR what would they like to be doing but can’t at the moment. YOu need to look at internal attitude research, identify stakeholders and what services are important to those potentially affected by the system.

  • Planning: This involves putting together a business case and establishing a project team – objectives, timescales and ROI need to be established at this stage. You also need to establish who is responisible for communicating the project – this is particularly important.

  • Implementation – it’s important during this stage to communicate appropriately with all audiences, by looking at internal marketing. As an example, one organisation used the metaphor of cake to communicate what was happening during this time – by putting up posters of pictures of slices of cake at each stage of the implementation – at launch, everyone involved actually got to eat some! It was a lighthearted but useful way of fixing what was happening in peoples’ minds. It’s also important to get a champion on the board. You need targeted messages to the board, HR team, line managers and employees.

  • System rollout – should involve launch events, which could be staff presentations, parties, posters or e-mail announcements to let everyone know the system is live.

  • Living with the system – there should be feedback from user groups, bulletin boards to keep people up-to-date, the system also needs to keep evolving within the organisation.
  • Tips from a customer – it’s important to identify champions and get them on your side, don’t forget HR, involve IT, anticipate reactions and don’t make assumptions.

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