HRIS mistakes

Implementing a HRIS into the workplace can be the first step towards improving productivity, employee job satisfaction, recruiting processes, and many other business functions. Investing in a HRIS and going through the motions to get it installed and integrated is a huge step for any company that will require a big investment of both time and money.

While HRIS systems may be intuitive to use, however, the implementation itself is often not a straightforward process. Many companies make mistakes during the HRIS implementation process that can ultimately decrease the potential benefits of the HRIS and reduce user adoption rates. While most companies understand that time should be spent beforehand to gather the information that will help managers choose the best HRIS, there are a few mistakes that companies often make in the process of gathering this information.

Inadequately Assessing Organizational Needs

Spending more time interviewing employees and department heads in the initial stages of gathering information can save a lot of frustration, money, and time later. Not every single person in the organization needs to put their two cents in when determining needs, but the key employees that will be affected should have a say so that the functions that are needed of a new system are as clearly defined and specific as possible.

It might be helpful to interview the following employees when doing needs assessment:

  • HR leaders
  • Finance managers
  • Internal IT
  • HR back-office professionals
  • Self-service managers
  • Front-line employees

Failure to Select Project Management

Many companies make the mistake of relying on a vendor for project management. A vendor’s priorities will not always be compatible with a company’s priorities. Unfortunately, this may ultimately cause conflict and slow the implementation process. Vendors know the magic tricks that will wow their audience and will not hesitate to pull out all of the stops to impress a company that is not ready, especially when doing a demo. Letting a vendor just do their thing and put on the show can distract managers and employees and pull their attention away from assessing whether the system is actually up to snuff when it comes to the necessities.

It helps to have a plan and a clear set of questions prepared in advance so that employees can ask the vendor to show how well the system performs those specific functions. When selecting a project management team, an experienced project leader and two other highly flexible team members should be chosen. Selecting more people may make it challenging for the project team to reach a consensus. The team that is chosen should be allowed to focus strictly on HRIS implementation, while regular job duties are fulfilled by another employee or manager.

Not Looking at Enough Vendors

When it comes down to demo time, there should be no more than three vendors left on the chopping block. However, the initial search should include as many vendors as possible. Searches can quickly be narrowed based on the reliability and experience of the vendor and the compatibility of the systems that are offered with established needs, but it is helpful to have a large sampling to apply these constraints so that highly compatible vendors are not overlooked.

Poor or Incomplete Planning

Poor planning is responsible for the failure of about 68 percent of all IT projects, according to the 2009 Standish CHAOS report. Planning each phase of HRIS implementation, taking shareholder needs into consideration, and creating a detailed timeline can make the implementation project move swiftly and increase the likelihood of success.

Organizing the office in such a way that processes can be quickly automated may also help simplify implementation and even save budget dollars. In turn, vendor representatives’ time can be put to good use, rather than having to wait around while HR professionals search through files.

Weak Prioritization

Hand-in-hand with inadequately assessed needs is a lack of prioritization in needs. In many cases, organizations create a compilation of the HRIS system needs and just figure that a chosen system should take care of all of these needs equally. Systems are different, though, and failing to properly rank needs can result in the passing up of a system that is spectacular at meeting all of the more important needs because it does not meet a low-priority requirement.

Risk of “Heavyweight” Ranking

During needs assessment interviews, it is common for top-level (“heavyweight”) managers to weigh in more than employees that are “lightweight” class. This is not always desirable, as everyone is going to view the things that they deal with most often as the most important HRIS requirements, including those top-level managers. To avoid the risk of “heavyweight” ranking, it may be helpful to develop a list of priorities and allow each department or manager to assign a prioritization number to each need that can be averaged later on.

Lack of Consideration for Employee Opinions

Next to planning shortfalls, failing to consider the human element during HRIS implementation is the second biggest reason for most project failures.

As employees need to work with the system on a continual basis, it’s only fair that they have some say in what kind of system is chosen and what features are prioritized. Holding company-wide meetings (in person or online) at each stage of selection and implementation will go a long way in making employees feel included in the process.

Entering Inaccurate Data

After the project has begun, many companies rush through the data transfer phase. Rushing through data transfer, rules setup, or any other technical aspect of HRIS implementation is a recipe for disaster, as inaccurate information renders HRIS information worthless.

Parallel testing and other safeguards can help ensure the accuracy of data. A great way to spot mistakes is by specifically assigning employees to double-check data for errors before they ruin the project.

Insufficient Data Security

HRIS data is highly sensitive, as employees’ personal information and proprietary company information is stored within the files.

Before any information is transferred or entered into a HRIS, adequate security measures should be taken to protect the data. After data is transferred or entered, security clearance measures should be taken by establishing passwords for every single manager and employee that is allowed to access the system.

Authored by: Dave Rietsema