Sally is writing a strategic report for the company Chairman when the phone interrupts her train of thought.
It takes her seven minutes to locate the caller’s holiday records and submit his leave request - plus two-and-a-half to hear about the family wedding he’s attending in Malaga, ‘Yes Brian, that does sound lovely’.
By the time she hangs up, she’s got half an hour before her deadline.
Right, back to it!
The phone rings again… she sighs before answering.
Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be like this.
Once the domain of global enterprise with global budgets, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that the proliferation of affordable, cloud-based self-service platforms has been one of the most transformative shifts of recent times in HR and payroll delivery.
For ambitious businesses, time is the most valuable currency. So it’s little surprise that so many of them are adopting self-service and leveraging the drastic reduction in administration it can offer.
Processes speed up, and direct employee access means time-consuming enquiries no longer require personal attention. It’s a game-changer.
Which is great, but only if people use it.
Putting the technology in place isn’t a guarantee that you’ll reap the benefits. The most unpredictable variable in any system implementation is its people.
This can manifest in a number of ways. After years of doing things a certain way, entrenched practices can be tough to budge. Self-service can be tricky or even intimidating for the less-digitally savvy. And some can find the transition from human contact to digital self service unsettling.
These are issues of inertia, change management challenges that we’ve helped hundreds of clients overcome successfully.
This is what we advise:
Choose your champions carefully
Some people will adapt better than others, be more accepting of new processes and adopt changes more easily. These people are your champions, bring them into the implementation process early so they feel some ownership.
Identifying the right champions is key. Characteristics you want to look for include a willingness to listen to new ideas; strong networking skills; a deep understanding of the organisation; and an ability and willingness to communicate with a range of people of varying seniority across the business. Ideally, your champions will be respected by their colleagues, ‘go to’ people and opinion formers.
Provide support that resonates
Intuitiveness and user-friendliness are two of our main principles in system design. But regardless of how incredible your system’s user experience is, people still need to be taught how to use it.
Rather than simply presenting instruction via email or through hurried lunch-time sessions, this can be used as an opportunity to boost adoption. The trick is ensuring that people understand how the new processes map to the HR and payroll services they’ve come to expect, and crucially how the change benefits them.
Your champions can play a useful role here; have them run small group sessions in their own departments, demonstrating how core tasks can be completed; allowing scope for questions and discussion if possible.
Ongoing support will be required in the early days of a system implementation. Providing a dedicated support contact has a double benefit; it provides clarity during the change process and an agreed avenue for feedback, but additionally it presents a human contact for people who might otherwise feel discomfited by the prospect of moving to a faceless self-service system.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
The thing businesses usually get right is the big launch; lots of internal marketing, email and intranet promotion, posters in the cafeteria, a note from the CEO in the internal newsletter. Making a big noise at the beginning is important but new process don’t become habits overnight. Effective change management communication is more of a long-tail trickle than a single big splash.
Get your marketing hat on. Focus on the benefits the new system delivers and identify stories that demonstrate what they look like in practice. Employees can now immediately view how much holiday they have left. Their manager can check for calendar clashes and approve requests with just a couple of clicks. If their personal details or bank account information changes, they can log in and update it themselves to ensure they don’t miss the next pay run.
For the first six to nine months of an implementation, have a plan to communicate these benefits regularly in several ways. This could include ‘Did you know’ emails, highlighting specific useful system functionality; public ‘thank you’ messages to teams or departments performing particularly well with the new system; and a line in the boiler plate of all HR emails, linking to key ‘how to’ information on your business’ intranet.
Bottom line, the simpler you can make it, the more successful you’ll be. Make information easily discoverable and accessible. Make technical processes like log-in and password recovery simple and secure. And most of all, make sure people know what’s in it for them. Tell them, then tell them again, and again.
XCD’s systems maximise adoption by offering systems that provide simplicity, flexibility and a high-quality user experience.
To speak to one of our advisers about how to ease your workforce into an HR and payroll self-service system implementation, book a demo slot here.