HRIS Implementation: Tips to Get Started

Key Points about implementing an HRIS system:

  • The right HR software can save you time, money, and resources. However, like any new system, there are a lot of things to consider before making the purchase and beginning implementation.
  • This blog explains the basic process of HRIS implementation, along with key benefits and insider tips to help you choose the right platform, know what to expect, and make the most of your HR software.

Implementing new software can be a daunting experience for any organization. Implementing Human Resource Information System (HRIS) software in particular can be a confusing process with multiple moving parts. However, if you understand the process and know how an HRIS can help you, you may find that it’s worth the investment.

In general, an employee data system can help improve the short term management and long term strategic development of your business. An HRIS implementation will impact your entire company and both help and require input from your business leaders, HR department, IT team, payroll professionals, and accounting departments.

We break down each step of the process so you can successfully implement a human resources solution.

What Is an HRIS? 

An HRIS combines software and hardware technology to help you manage everything HR in one place. Administrative tasks, especially the routine processes associated with gathering, maintaining, filing, and distributing HR information, can be inefficient. An HRIS replaces it with efficient data management and document storage in a secure, digital format. It can help you:

  • Onboard new employees
  • Work with hiring managers for efficient recruiting
  • Manage existing talent
  • Communicate with managers and employees for timely business notifications
  • Manage payroll and personal information
  • Retain and secure personnel information to ensure compliance

Business Needs an HRIS Can Address 

Implementing HRIS software addresses several common business concerns, including:

  • Disorganized document management for recruiting, onboarding, and managing
  • Noncompliance with regulatory agencies
  • Repetitive data entry and inconsistent workflows
  • Lengthy approval processes
  • Lack of security involving documents, personnel information, and payroll records

Benefits of Implementing an HRIS

Companies can solve these issues by finding the right solution that improves department effectiveness and productivity. Some of the benefits of executing an HRIS implementation include:

  1. Lower administrative HR costs. You only need to pay for one platform, instead of multiple ones.
  2. Workflow automation. You can eliminate the stacks of paperwork you need to process by automatically approving changes and electronically sending out notifications. When you streamline your workflows in this way, information is routed directly to parties who need it, boosting your efficiency.
  3. A common repository for all HR-related information. Everyone works from one reliable source of information for reporting and analysis. Employee data for everything from benefits and performance to onboarding and job history are accurate and consistent.
  4. Accurate reporting and analysis. You can easily create and share reports for demographics and other personnel information including hiring trends, employee retention rates, and promotions.
  5. Security. An HRIS uses strict security measures to keep all of your HR files safe. Transforming these files into electronic records provides a high level of security while still permitting real-time access and flexibility to view the information as needed.
  6. Compliance with all regulatory agencies. HRIS software usually offers compliance help and safeguards so you stay updated with the latest legislation.

Steps in the Implementation Process

There are many HR data solutions on the market, each with varying features designed for businesses of different sizes or industries. Regardless of your individual business needs or the specific HRIS implementation partner you select to work with, these steps are required to ensure success:

  1. Plan and define your objectives for the implementation. Categorize features you “must-have” to achieve your goals and “nice-to-have” functions that will add value but are not deal breakers in final product selection.
  2. Identify project stakeholders and a team lead who is empowered to make project-level decisions.
  3. Establish key metrics or performance indicators that can be measured throughout the implementation process. This is your basis for evaluating results. It could be reduced cost, better reporting accuracy, or improved productivity.
  4. Evaluate and define your existing business processes. Your selected provider can suggest specific features to streamline these processes and address your business concerns. Their experience can help you maximize your return on investment.
  5. Research and understand all of your HR information. Where is your critical data? In what format? Who owns it? Your partner can help you identify the specific elements that are most important for accurate reporting and using the system effectively.
  6. Configure your software when you migrate your information over. Use your software provider’s guidance in selecting the features and options that are right for your business. 
  7. Train your users on the software and share internal resources. Also, talk to your partner about their availability to help after the system is running in case of system outages or emergencies.
  8. Once your HRIS is live, monitor and verify the results to be sure you’re solving the business problems you set out to.

Task Assignments and Responsibilities

Successfully implementing your solution relies on having a cross-departmental team. Because an HRIS impacts and benefits all departments, each should have representation in this team. Define tasks and responsibilities to keep communications open and the approval process clear. You also need to identify stakeholders and a project lead. This project lead will serve as the point-person and keep the review process flowing when you compare HRIS programs.

When building your implementation team, you’ll need to determine how much support you will need from your HR, IT, and Finance teams, along with your HRIS vendor. Understanding the skill sets needed for each role will help you identify the proper resources needed on the project. Here are some critical responsibilities that need to be included in the process.

Responsibilities critical to implementation
  • Requirements review – First, consult with all departments and leadership to ensure all requirements and input are included upfront.
  • Planning and support – Identify an internal project team and choose your HRIS vendor.
  • Training – Attend a training with the vendor, and then possibly use a “train the trainer” approach to help your other employees learn the new software.
  • Configuration – Together with your HRIS vendor and HR and IT employees, configure the software for your business.
  • Testing – Have your HR, quality assurance, and IT integration teams test the software.
  • Report Creation – Ask your stakeholders to review reporting parameters after implementation. Consider asking for additional reviews from other departments to confirm your success.

Understand your Current Workflows

Identifying your current processes is essential to reaping the benefits of your new solution. Throughout the implementation, make sure to include key stakeholders in any decisions and configurations that affect your workflows. These decisions could change how your employees interact with the software. Understanding the potential changes before making a decision can help you improve business processes and increase efficiency. Two examples of workflows the system can change include:

  • Routing – The forwarding or sharing of critical information such as salary adjustments, applicant information, promotions, reorganizations, and terminations. 
  • Notifications – Alerts for events or actions that need approval by additional parties. Automated notifications are a major benefit of a new system and can lessen the chance of delays within a process.

Data Needs

Identifying the current location of all business-critical information is essential to properly implement your new HRIS. Your vendor can help you identify the elements needed for your implementation process. It will then be the project team’s responsibility to locate everything you need.

This will need to be a joint effort between HR and IT personnel. In some cases, the same data will reside in multiple paper files or IT applications, which is why having the technology department involved from the beginning is so important.

Implementation

Once the planning, installation, and training are behind you, it’s time for the real effort of undergoing the implementation phase. This will include several critical processes.

Data migration 

This is the actual process of transitioning all of your business information from multiple internal or external sources into the new solution. Some components of the transformation may have programmed interfaces for easy conversion from existing databases or electronic forms. Other components may need to be keyed in manually.

Workflow configuration

Once you complete the initial implementation process, you configure routing and notifications to support your workflows. These may include workflows for applicant reviews, time off approvals, training requests, and any others that apply to your business. 

Software implementation 

Next, you perform the final installation of your configured software in your production environment.

Evaluation and testing 

Before you go live, you should take the time to execute each automated process, system function, and workflow to ensure everything’s working the way it should be. Validate that integrations with third-party or legacy applications function properly. Verify that all integration points are in place and functioning properly. This includes sign-offs for quality assurance, reporting, security, and user accessibility. Be particularly mindful of security role assignment.

Now is the time to catch errors, such as anything that may not have been uploaded properly, or any malfunctions that could potentially hinder success. Take the time to review every step that has occurred, make sure all upgrades are executed, and ensure the solution is already working for your team behind the scenes.

Go Live

It’s time for the big reveal. All of the information is uploaded, the software is working properly, and the configurations are suited to you and your business. Ensure all impacted departments know the “go live” date so you can transition to the HRIS without any surprises. External resources, such as any services that receive data for payroll processing, should also be informed.

Post-Live Evaluation and Training

Now that you’re up and running, you should plan for a period of focused support for operational teams and your HRIS users. This transition period will include support from your HRIS provider, as well as internal functional and technical teams.

All of your supporting team members must have thorough training and documentation for incident management. All of your employees should also receive training to become more familiar with the designated workflows, notifications, and applicable system functions. You’ll want to:

  • Monitor and evaluate system performance to ensure your expectations of availability and productivity are being achieved.
  • Validate that all integrations are working properly with your third-party applications and vendors.
  • Survey users to ensure satisfaction and resolve any issues that arise. You should prioritize and rank issues for urgency, as there may be issues that your HRIS provider needs to address immediately. Additionally, you may want to place items on a list for future enhancements or “nice to have” modifications.
  • Review the key metrics that were established at the onset of your implementation. Measuring results with actual data will reveal your true cost savings and other improvements.
  • Consult with your HRIS provider continuously to ensure that you’re using all the features of the system that could benefit your employees and business.

New HRIS For Your Business

A successful HRIS implementation begins by selecting the software that meets your current and future business needs. However, it’s only one factor in a successful implementation. Planning, configuring the system, and training users appropriately are all critical to a successful HRIS implementation.

SentricHR is an all-in-one HRIS with cloud-based technology that makes everything people management easier. Contact our HR professionals to discuss how our HRIS can help streamline your success.


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