Having worked with many small businesses over the last 7 years we can see the huge benefits that come from rolling out great cloud software to streamline your employee processes. Below I outline the steps to successfully implement HR software. As with any “vanilla” software though – it is imperative that you follow a process to set the system up to be the “Neopolitan” software that supports your SME employee processes.
Rolling out a new piece of HR software internally involves several stages. Having rolled out 100’s of different software to many small businesses we outline below what we see as the key stages to go through:
Identify Needs and Set Objectives: The first stage is to identify the specific needs and objectives of the business. This involves understanding the challenges that the current HR system (if any) is facing and determining what the new software needs to achieve ie: do you want it to interface with payroll or time and attendance software? What reports/data do you want to extract from the system and how often? What data do you want to store in it etc.
Research and Select a Vendor: Once the needs and objectives are clear, the next step is to research various HR software vendors and select one that best suits the needs of the business. This may involve requesting demos, reading customer reviews, and comparing features and prices. I would have a spreadsheet of your requirements and as you go through different software apply the different criteria and ask the questions. One of the key ones for me is to have a UK-based call centre for queries – nothing worse than never being able to talk to a human.
Develop an Implementation Plan: This involves planning out all the steps of the implementation process, including setting a timeline, assigning responsibilities to team members, and determining how data will be transferred from the old system to the new one. It is critical to plan the roll-out and how you will parallel run. Look at key business dates such as new holiday years / salary review time. If you have critical busy times then try and avoid these too.
Are you interfacing the HR software with any other systems such as payroll / ATS (applicant tracking system) and if so how and when will you factor in this side ? Then start off by giving some time for the below steps to include in the implementation plan.
Identify the key people in the project plan rollout and get a team together including Finance (payroll mainly) / IT / and HR / Office Manager. If you outsource your payroll make sure that you have a contact at the outsourcers who knows what you are doing and what your deadlines are.
Ensure someone owns the system internally. Again in my experience with any software if nobody internally owns it then you don’t get the full benefit from it and the data soon becomes obsolete. This can be an Office Manager for example in a small business or a HR administrator/payroll processor.
Internal Data Sourcing – you need to make a list of all your current sources of employee data – this may include the payroll system / a time and attendance system/an old legacy HR system / Excel spreadsheets of benefits and pension data/training spreadsheets/contracts of employment / new employee data forms/photos from security passes /wall calendars with absence dates/ driving licenses / medical questionnaires / key templates that you will look to upload and where they are stored etc etc. Start to collate this in advance where you can so that the data is ready to go when you need it and this is a key step to successfully implement HR software.
The software company should provide you with ‘Staging spreadsheets’ ie: spreadsheets with data headings for data import. One of the key unique identifiers across all spreadsheets will be something such as employee number – so make sure that you include this on every spreadsheet of data, especially if you are starting to do V lookups to get the data into the staging spreadsheets – do not use surname or first name for example as the data will get confused.
Data Gap Analysis – once you have established what headings of data you need you then need to look at where you have gaps in the data and how you will populate these. You need to identify your MUST-have data and your NICE TO HAVE data. Quite often you may need employees to fill out and submit some data prior or you may decide for ease and best GDPR practice to allow employees to log in when they first start and complete the blanks. However you need to be mindful as quite often some employees never quite get around to filling in key data, so what steps will you put in to get this data populated? This is another one of the key steps to successfully implement HR software.
Employee photos: nobody likes to have their photo on the system, however, I genuinely think it is really important for employee communication – especially for new joiners. We all know current staff know each other and so don’t want to upload a photo however consider how it would help new joiners / those who may work remotely etc. Secondly, it is important for security reasons – so people know who should and shouldn’t be walking around.
You also need to consider which photos you are happy for people to upload. I’ve seen versions of people with a ‘Tinder’ type shot/someone in the distance in full ski gear including a mask skiing downhill through to rude logos or even photos of children in shots. Set some guidelines around what is and isn’t acceptable and when people join make sure that you take professional close-up headshot photos that can be uploaded.
Remember you also need to lead by example and make sure managers etc. recognise the importance of this too.
GDPR and Communications plan -You should also consider at this point your GDPR requirements and advise employees that you are rolling out new HR software what your intentions are with their data and how it will be used/stored and back-up. Who will have access to the system etc. Let people know a timescale etc. and what they will need to do differently and when. Here is a link to the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) with some guidance on this side. Employment information | ICO. It may be worth reading this as your compliance steps to successfully implement HR software
Data Integrity Checking – most data can very quickly become out of date from when an employee joins – especially if you have never had HR software that an employee can update themselves. Remember rubbish data in / rubbish data out. Make sure that employees check key parts such as hours of work/start date/emergency contacts etc. Perhaps you can populate some job-related data and send it to Managers to review and ensure accuracy before it gets uploaded for example and think about other people who can check this data too.
Reconcile key data between employee data portals – normally this will be the HR and payroll system. If the two pieces of software won’t be integrated it is a really good opportunity to check key parts of the data across both systems. You also need to ensure how you will maintain payroll, if you have self-service HR. For example if an employee changes their address you will perhaps need to run monthly reports with address changes for payroll so it is imperative that you look at how you will maintain the two pieces of software.
You may recognise that you don’t have the capacity in-house to do these steps alongside your day jobs so contact us for more information on how we can help on a project basis.