Change Management Strategies for Successfully Implementing a New HCM System

Video Transcription


Cynthia: Now, I would like to introduce our featured speaker for today.  Cristina is our Director of Change Realization.  She has 11 years of experience in the human capital management industry.  She has been consulting, is heavily involved in our implementation and training, is an excellent communicator, very adept at process re-engineering, and she has 15 years of Management Consulting experience.

So on to today’s webinar, Lessons Learned, is really lessons learned from Cristina being in the trenches with our customers.  And with that, I would like to turn it over to her for today’s featured presentation.

Cristina: Thank you, Cynthia.  Welcome everybody.  As Cynthia mentioned, this is our Organizational Change Management Strategies for Successfully Implementing a New HCM System Webinar.

So, what are we going to walk you through?  The purpose of the webinar is to understand the people side of an HCM software implementation.  The outcome will include takeaways with best practices in OCM/Organizational Change Management, and steps to consider before, during and after an HCM software implementation.  The process we’re going to walk through is understanding what organizational change management is, understanding how change impacts productivity and look at personal and organizational transitions involved in change.

So let's get started.

Organizational Change Management (OCM)

Definition of Organizational Change Management; OCM is the structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, organizations from their current state to a desired future state. So if we think about an HCM software implementation in terms of people, process and technology, OCM focuses on the people side.  Now, we know the technology, we switch from one system to the next.  Our processes will change. But how do we get the people from one side of the mountain to the other side just as our illustration shows?

Well first of all, let’s look at how change impacts productivity.  Organizational change management is one of the most overlooked success factor of an HCM software implementation process.  Why is this?  If we use the Kubler-Ross Change Curve, when there is a change in organization or even a personal change, there’s a performance dip that happens within your organization.  And as you can see, business performance go down and it take some times to get to the other side.  If you have an established and deep organizational change management approach, then we can lessen the time it takes to get to the success factor and reduce the impact on the business.

Now, let's get deeper in understanding how we put this in practice.

Personal and organizational transitions

So when we have – when we’re changing an HCM software for example in our case, there are some questions that come up from a personal level and questions on the organizational level.  And both of these need to be well defined and answered throughout the process.

On a personal level, the employees and the stakeholders will be asking themselves, “Why are we doing this?”  And they’ll be asking the executive team and the leadership team for answers to these questions.  What is in it for me in my department?  How is my job changing?  Will I lose my job?  Will I have the skills needed to execute my new tasks?  Having answers ready for these questions is very important for the change transition.

On an organizational level, some of the questions are, what is our situation/issue today?  What does the solution look like?  Will new policies and procedures need to be designed?  What is the plan to implement the solution?  So these are all questions that is part of an OCM plan we need to be able to answer and have prepared.

How do we apply an organizational change management plan?

First, we define the future.  What is the future going to look like?  Understand the actual goals of the company and how does the new system align with the business objectives of the company heads.  Be sure to communicate these business goals and what the impact will be.

Then we move to enlisting the team and laying out the plan.  By team, if you have a change management team within your organization, this is the time to enlist them and get participantion to the change.  If you don’t have a specific team already designated, you can create one by having your executive sponsorship participating, the leadership team.  All the different levels of stakeholders should have change champions participating. 

In an HCM software implementation for example, you would want your HR administrators involve, your payroll administrators, as well as people that represent your general population, your supervisors and employees that may be impacted by the change.

Then layout the plan. So now we have to layout the roadmap.  There's a change coming, so what is our communication plan going to be?  What’s the training plan?  What’s the support plan throughout the whole implementation?

Tell the story.  This is a big important point - have stories ready and create the stories from the answers to the questions that we just went through.  But also create the story of the before and after.  Now we do things this way, tomorrow, this is what we’re trying to achieve.  This is how things are going to go, from the various levels of the stakeholders.

And then act. Once you have prepared and done all the planning here, it's time to implement the OCM approach, it's time to assess products, progress, adjust as necessary and affirm that the progress is actually happening.

Best practices in OCM

As we talked about, leadership involvement is very important.  Secure executive sponsorship early in the project.  Ensure that the sponsorship is active and visible.  And as all know, messages are more powerful when they come from the top.  Excitement, involvement, coming from the top trickles down throughout the whole organization, culturally, and it determines the attitude to the change.

Planning. We also talked about planning as well.  Layout the roadmap throughout the journey.  How is this change going to touch the people in the organization?  What are we going to do about all the steps that need to be thought about?  Create a transition strategy with achievable timeframes.  Let’s go back to thinking of people, process and technology.  It’s easier to have timeframes when it comes to the technology change and the process changes, but what about the people change?  How do we fold that into the timeframes?

Involve your stakeholders, involve the employees in the change process, dedicate resources to change management.  You know, I keep talking about change champions, those are the people out there in the organization that can be involved in the change as it’s happening, and also help provide the messages, the key messages to the population that the leadership and the sponsorship want permeating throughout the company.

Communication.  We’ll talk about communication over and over and over in this presentation.  Communicate effectively.  Repeat key messages early and often.  Identify those key messages and once you’ve identified them, they need to be repeated in various way.  People receive communication and retain communication by listening, by hearing, by seeing, by reading.  So the key messages need to be repeated many times in many ways.

So, during an implementation, what do we actually do from a change management perspective?  Before the implementation, define the future like we talked about.  What’s the future going to look like when we have this new system in our company?  Let’s define that and get some examples.

Understand how your stakeholders are, who your stakeholders are and tailor the approach. If you're implementing an employee self service or if you're changing your time in attendance system your stakeholders are throughout the organization. You have your employees punching in and out. You have your supervisors approving the time off, and then you have your core team your H.R. administrators and benefits administrators. They have to work in the system all the time, communicate again, get those couple of key messages and start communicating to the changes coming.

How do we apply these concepts before the implementation?

You can conduct a stakeholder analysis that identifies who's going to be touched and how by the change? Complete change readiness survey. This looks at the organization, how ready is the organization through the change? How can we get them ready? What has worked well in the past that we can repeat in terms of change? Prepare the story and we've talked about this already a couple times, look at now versus future, what do you want that story to look like so that you can communicate it clearly.

Recruit change champions. There are people influencing throughout the organization, they don't necessarily have to have a title to be an influencer. Identify those people or recruit them, if they feel they're participating in the change in understanding what's going to happen they can go out there and have that informal communication channels work for you. Then again, communicate the key messages to the core team that's going to be involved in the implementation and also any messages that you would like dissipating throughout the organization. People are going to talk throughout the organization. The messages that everybody receives depends on what messages you are able to provide for them.

During the implementation, communicate business objectives, keep going and definitely start solidifying those objectives and keep communicating them. Involve the change champions. Have them test out the system if that's a possibility, or make decisions if it's appropriate on how to change things and the timeline. And, celebrate the change.

Change is done for a good reason so celebrating the change during the implementation will make a big difference. Create a solid goal life plan, what's going to happen when we go live? Are we going to have people on the ground helping employees as supervisors? Punching in and out and questioning time off?

Have a solid concrete plan on how you expect your goal life time to be going. The application of these concepts is, provide information of the time life supporting and resourcing, what's happening when? Who can I go for help? How am I going to get trained? Get the answers for all of those questions, tell stories from the various levels. We talked about this a couple times already. Today I am an employee and I use a paper form to go request time off, tomorrow as an employee you can go into the employee self-service and request time off right there from your computer, you don't have to walk up to the HR apartment.

Those stories resonate with people, have those stories ready and plan go live events. We've had customers who plan a whole week of celebration when it's time to go live, they prepare prizes and contests for who's going to conduct open enrollment first. They have free lunches, there's all sorts of different ways of celebrating the change and planning that go live event, make it an exciting time instead of a fearful time. After implementation, remember, go live is the beginning of the change. We have packed our bags, looked at our mats and now we get on the journey when go live starts. Be ready for change resistance and negative reactions.

Change is hard so people are going to react in different way and some are going to start saying, “Oh this doesn't work, it's not as good as before.” That's when to continue communication of the reasons and benefits for the change needs to be thought about and applied. How do we do this? Continue the communication support and training. Training will have to continue, support as well, celebrate the change just like for ‘go live’ continue to celebrate all the benefits there are coming out of this change.

Modify your communication support and training approach as needed and remember anything that doesn't involve also the software itself. For example, if you're going from a manual process using paper to using the Web, think about the PC skills. Do we now have to have PC skills training before we go live? Do we involve your I.T departments so that when the system changes they can help with pop-up blockers or logging in problems or anything that’s I T related that could just cause anxiety, because you can't even get into the system or something simple can be easily resolved.

Involve all parts of their organization, the marketing department, the communication department, can have great ideas on how to provide internal marketing communication.

Let's recap what we have gone through. Change is hard, it causes anxiety, it causes fear as uncertainty. Change can impact everybody in the organization as I mentioned if you're changing your time in attendance system or if you want your employees to be using in place of service, it's going to touch every employee in the organization. The sooner you begin thinking and planning OCM activities, the better chance of success. It takes planning, it takes thinking about all of these little details like the pop-up blockers. What are we going to do if that happens?

Celebrate the change, don't hide it.

If the change is coming it's better to get it out in the open and celebrate it and create the story you want people to be talking about. The informal communications will help create a positive change transformation as opposed to a negative one, because people don't know what's going to happen. Recruit people resisting the change the most as gatekeepers, identify those individuals that you think are going to resist the change and then cause ripple effect and recruit them. Make them part of the change, give them responsibilities as the gatekeepers of what shouldn't change.

Maybe some processes shouldn't be changed right away with the new technology, maybe we wait a little bit, and those are the people that could provide that information and be involved and then again communicate. We can determine what the story is out with our general population and with an organization. And if we don't sell a story people will create one. It's better to have a controlled communication.

Next steps for various phases of your organization:

  • If you haven't selected it in HCM vendor yet, find out how the vendor can help with OCM activities. Does the vendor understand OCM? Do they have tools or outside extra help they can provide? That's a conversation that should happen along with what the technology does.
  • If you already selected a vendor and you’re before implementation, go through the steps of defining the future. What do we want our future to look like? Where are the business objectives? How does the new system align with our business objective? Understand your stakeholders, lay out that plan of how each stakeholder is going to be touched by the change, and how the story is going to change depending on what their job is.
  • Recruit change champions. Find those champions out there that can help you deliver the message, learn the system, provide support and resources, and prepare key communication messages.
  • If you've already started the implementation, keep communicating these business objectives. The end goal is what the business is supposed to be going through. Throughout the entire process of getting detailed into data conversion and other obstacles that seem overwhelming. Let's keep communicating what the objectives are. What's the other side going to look like? What are we trying to get to?
  • Involve the change champions and have them learn the system early on. Have them start talking about it and be able to support the change once you go live. Celebrate the change as we mentioned and create a solid go live plan.
  • After the implementations and now you've gone live, remember this is the beginning. Be ready for change resistance, be patient, keep providing support and continue the communications of the reasons and the benefits of why we've made this system change.


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John Cuellar

John Cuellar

John is responsible for SyncHR’s product, engineering, and system operations teams. He is focused on streamlining the business processes related to HCM and finance by distributing SyncHR to all members of the workforce and by using patented security and workflow to control these developments. John is also responsible for delivering SyncHR as a cloud based application with “extreme ratio” financial metrics.

He has a background in engineering, workplace applications, and business administration, bringing over 25 years of experience deploying strategic HCM applications. Prior to co-founding SyncHR, John was the CEO of Harbor Technologies, since acquired by Mellon Financial Corporation. Previous to Harbor Technology Group, he spent an internship with the Swiss Bank Corporation in their derivatives pricing and trading group and also worked as a senior manager for the US Navy. John received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his Master of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.

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