A new season just began, one we associate with “summer fun”, “summer dreams”, “summer breeze.” I change up my wardrobe to add linen and seersucker, change up my menu to add fresh tomatoes & basil, and change my restaurant selection to those that have patios. This is familiar change, routine change; I can anticipate what I need to do to get ready for summer, and how I’ll roll with it as Summer unfolds. This change is welcome, and compared to most change, easy. It happens every 12 months, I know it’s coming, and I’ve done it many times.

Hard change is, well, hard. I qualify changes that I encounter only every 5-10 years (or longer) to be in the hard change category. I don’t know what to anticipate for this change after so many years with no experience; don’t know how I’ll be affected – me, personally; don’t know if I’m going to like the future as much as I like the now; don’t know if I will “do it right”. HCM software implementation is hard change. Something (a situation perhaps), or someone, triggers the discussion about choosing a new software solution, and soon you’re on the path to hard change.

Just like Summer, hard change brings us “good things”: better service for employees, improved product functionality & support, enhanced efficiency in business processes. The rub: Summer brings us “bad things”, too, like tornado warnings, sand in our bathing suits, and sunburn; the upside for Summer is that we do have routine experience with the bad things, and can anticipate the action we need to take to remedy them, in fact, in many cases, we have a plan to prevent or reduce the negative impact (sunscreen! aloe!)

Not so true with the “bad things” of hard change: individuals or work units resistant to using the new software solution; lack of qualified resources to develop & execute a training plan for new users; low confidence/low experience in communicating a change of this magnitude to all employees, and at the right time. Most organizations don’t have that routine experience of preventing or reducing the negative impacts of hard change. The solution: Change Management, a structured process to shift your hard change closer to a “summer dream.” Change Management focuses on the people-side of the future, rather than the configuration of your new solution, and – to be most effective – should include the following:

  1. A Communication Audit: how has changed been communicated in the past? Was that communication effective? What communication channels work best in your organization? What communication channels do you have access to that you haven’t leveraged…but may be helpful?
  2. A thorough Impact Analysis: Who is affected (groups/work units)? In what way? How critical is their buy-in to the implementation project? What’s their experience with this type of change in the past?
  3. A Risk Strategy that defines the action you will take in the event a potential risk comes true (for example, a union protests the implementation or your go-live date slips.)
  4. A Stakeholder Analysis to identify the current state of knowledge and project buy-in/support from the key stakeholders.
  5. A Communication Plan driven by the output of the Communication Audit, Impact Analysis, and Stakeholder Analysis, identifying who needs to know what about the new HCM solution when, and in what format…as well as who’s producing, distributing, and responding to questions about the communications.
  6. And finally, most critical, a Training Plan. Who, by role, needs to learn about what’s changing and hot to interface with…a new time entry method? Time approval? Self-service navigation? Shift change request? Workflow processing? etc… What methods will be used? When will training occur?

Not your “summer dream”? Change Management is “Summer Fun” for the Sability team, we have the continuous practice – and the tools and techniques of our APACT Methodology – to guide you in managing the people side of your project as you implement all or components of an HCM solution.

Our shared goal: position you for success in user acceptance and adoption on Day 1 of go-live! Reach out to us to learn more, we look forward to the conversation.