16 Steps to Successful HR Software Implementation

While every company will require its own unique implementation plan, successful HR software implementation projects have many similar elements and characteristics. It’s important that you understand your requirements, identify goals, select the right product, define the project scope, establish executive support, make changes to existing policies and procedures, evaluate infrastructure requirements, and more. It sounds like a lot of work and it is, but when you work methodically your HR software implementation is well worth it when you gain new efficiencies and cost savings.

Executive Support: The risk of project failure is higher when executive management isn’t behind the project. You must get buy-in from all C-Level executives and departmental managers to impact significant change.

Requirements Definition: Define the business requirements and goals for the HR implementation. If possible, identify the desired ROI and establish a framework for measuring your results. Create an information survey to be completed by each department in your organization to help you define the requirements and existing business processes. The information survey will help you identify where problems occur, information gaps where communication completely breaks down, document retention policies (how long), and other information critical to selecting the right software and implementing it effectively.

Key Performance Indicators:

It’s helpful if you can identify the costs in terms of cash and time related to the inefficiencies in your existing business processes. Quantify these and compare them to the investment you plan to make in your HR software. Then set goals for cost and labor reductions and other measurable results so you can evaluate and identify the return on investment of the HR project.

Planning for Future Growth:

It’s critical to select a product that meets your current needs with the ability for the software to grow as your needs change. For example, will your HR software be able to handle additional employees at you grow? If you decide to spread internationally, will it remain a suitable solution? etc.

Project Management:

The implementation of an HR system is relatively simple when compared to larger projects such as implementing an ERP system, but project management is still critical to success, be sure to select a capable project manager who can oversee the initial implementation and on-going use of the software.

Policy Changes:

Review internal policies and change them as-needed to support HR workflow.
Procedure Changes: HR significantly impacts procedures in the organization cutting out manual steps. You will need to identify new procedures using HR software as the platform. Make sure that new procedures are well documented and users have been trained on the changes and what’s expected of them.


Identify compliance requirements with federal, vendor, or customer policies and adapt your HR software and workflow to manage your compliance requirements. Compliance requirements frequently change. As such, it’s important that employees who have new compliance information are part of your on-going HR team.


HR security should be setup during the initial implementation but security needs may be changed as your overall security policies and procedures change.


Evaluate your existing infrastructure to understand if it fully supports your HR software goals. You will likely identify ways to utilize new technology such as tablets, mobile phones, intranets and extranets, etc. to capture, retrieve, and manage documents more effectively further eliminating manual processes and paper.

Consolidated HCM:

You must consider other systems already in place in your organization and if you can eliminate them or clearly define which systems will remain for specific types of documents. For example, you may implement HR for your core ERP data but you may not be able to replace the embedded document management capabilities in your CRM software. Further, many companies choose to utilize Microsoft SharePoint as an employee, customer, or vendor portal. It’s important to define what information should be managed on SharePoint and what information is managed in the HR software. It’s best to consolidate down to as few HCM solutions as possible.

Defined Scope:

HR can be (and should be) implemented in phases. The scope of each phase should be clearly defined. For example, implement HR for accounts payable and related processes then move on to account receivable, sales order, inventory, manufacturing, etc.

These are only the beginning steps to a successful HR software implementation, check back tomorrow for the rest, or download the guide below to access the remaining seven steps and more best practices on selection, evaluation, and implemenation today.

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