The project kick-off was positive, the implementation finished on-time and on-budget and your new HR platform is working as designed. But alas, the project is still viewed as ‘unsuccessful’ by various stakeholders. Here, our Workday Head of Change, Chris Burns explores the issue of stalled HR projects along with his advice on how to get things back on track.
The promise of less transactional work, more automation and the nirvana of delivering more strategic HR activity probably seem like a mirage on the horizon from when you first started this journey. My experience is that people are usually less engaged and more frustrated now than they were before the project started. Here are my top five considerations for restarting your stalled HR:
1. View launch as day 1, not the final hurdle
On launch day, you’ve delivered a new system, it’s something to celebrate for sure, and I don’t want to take away from the great step-change taking place in your enterprise. The honest question to ask here is, have you delivered the change needed to enhance your new platform? For many organisations, the solution implemented is only the foundation. With Workday, we see it as a catalyst for change rather than the answer to your problems. Although events like launch day are important for the galvanising effect they can have, the reality is that lasting change evolves over time and is something that should be part of your ever-evolving roadmap.
2. Take a people-centred approach to HR planning
People are at the heart of HR transformation, your goals from the outset likely included supporting new ways of working, automating manual processes and allowing employees to focus on more strategic tasks instead of getting stuck in the weeds. Having worked with clients throughout various change projects, it often becomes clear that the project team haven’t fully put themselves into the mindset of the team. What day-to-day pressures do they face? How can this solution make their lives easier? When these elements haven’t been closely considered, staff engagement and compliance declines. To this point, I challenge you to review your project scope and make it less about the system change and more about the people change.
3. Build your HR A-team
A common assumption is that a reduction in transactional effort and a move towards strategic HR will happen by default. It won’t. Make sure you re-address the balance between the technical, behavioural and cultural skills that your HR function will need to deliver a more value-added service.
Invest in your HR team and provide the training they need to develop partnering, analytics, and consulting skills. Workday, when delivered successfully, will remove the barriers that prevent strategic HR from occurring, it won’t help your people have the conversations needed to deliver a value-added HR service.
4. Review and re-baseline performance
Dust off the business case, review it and see how far away you are from your original aspirations. You may have offset legacy system costs, but have you reduced FTE numbers or transactional effort?
When you review your business case, can you demonstrate that the investment made has had a tangible impact on how your HR function? Can you prove that HR has been empowered and that management is using its people data to better effect? Are fewer key people leaving your business? Are you spending less time manipulating spreadsheets and more time having workforce planning discussions? If you can’t answer these questions, don’t panic, re-baseline and re-set the vision.
5. Get the right support in place for after go-live
It’s important to re-evaluate how you support Workday and integrate change management and user adoption practices in all elements of your post-deployment services model. The modern, digital world has changed the way systems are supported and maintained. Change is now a constant, rather than an event, and as a cloud-based solution Workday is continuously improving and enhancing.
A HR driven; post-deployment service model that moves as quickly as the solution it supports is imperative. A failure to address this will mean you are stuck in a world of reactive fixes and last-minute updates and will never have the headspace to proactively drive the digital transformation you intended.
The first step is identifying the gaps and challenge areas and accurately diagnosing what needs to be done. Once clear, you can set about re-defining what the future will look like and how you will get there. Call it transformation 2.0! The important thing is realising that HR transformation is a journey that won’t stop, so hop on for the ride and get ready to accelerate your business.