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Dave Foxall Post-Implementation Training: HRMS Software Upskilling

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 By Dave Foxall

HR Software Training Does Not Stop at Go-Live

Strategic HR software training is a crucial element in the implementation of a human resource management system (HRMS). However, the likelihood is that the training available as part of the deployment process primarily addressed the basics of what users needed to know prior to the go-live date (e.g. familiarity with user interfaces, run-throughs and practice with specific processes and workflows, and a general awareness of the bigger HRMS picture). At the implementation stage it was important to concentrate on what people needed rather than be seduced by the possibilities built in to the HR management system. For go-live success, a narrow focus may have been appropriate for proving the initial return-on-investment (ROI) and demonstrating a shortened time-to-value, but it also helped lay the foundation for future HR management system training.

As a Radiant Systems white paper, Training: A Critical Success Factor in Implementing a Technology Solution emphasizes, "Delivering the right training at the right time requires choosing a learning approach that will move an organization toward its strategic objectives and then deploying the training as effectively as possible." A great deal of that training deployment will take place after go-live as an ongoing post-implementation training program empowers employees to use the HRMS more fully over time. Here we highlight the 4 software training focus areas that organizations should consider post-implementation to maintain and in many cases improve their HRMS software ROI.

HR System Training Focus #1: Extra functionality

As additional HR software modules, add-ons and functions are brought on-line, users will require more training to effectively increase their proficiency and overall HR software utilization. Take employee self-service (ESS) as an example: an appropriately cautious implementation strategy will introduce employees gently to the principle of ESS, creating familiarity through a handful of processes before opening up access to the full suite. Hence, post-go-live there will probably be a larger number of processes to introduce and these processes will likely be more advanced. The Towers Watson report, 2011-12 New Horizons - No Boundaries, states that, "In the United States, while ESS personal data tools such as those for viewing pay stubs, changing personal data, and viewing vacation/sick time usage and balances are well established, we are seeing plans for substantial (18% to 20%) growth in 2011 and 2012 for setting up and making changes to direct deposit, viewing total compensation and benefit statements, and updating education/ certifications." Hence, as more sophisticated HR business processes are made accessible, to ensure full and widespread adoption, training must be given – both in basic HR system navigation as well as the potential use cases that the information can be put to.

HR System Training Focus #2: The HR team

An obvious target for training, the HR staff will not only be the group with the greatest number of changes to their everyday working procedures, but additionally the rest of the organization's employees will expect them to be the system experts in this new HR software technology. In an ideal world, every member of the HR department is a super user, a sentiment echoed by The Society for HR Management's (SHRM) 2011 report, Transforming HR Through Technology; which notes that, "[HRMS] skills will become more important for all HR professionals. Organizations will need HR staff members who can work effectively with external vendors and consultants to implement and upgrade software and evaluate implications of new software initiatives on the HR practices of the firm". As such, organizations should remain cognizant of the training needs that HR staff members have with regard to any new HR software.

HR System Training Focus #3: Social tools

In several areas of HR software (e.g. performance, recruitment, etc.) social media use and integration are on the rise; and organizations whose employees are strategically encouraged to utilize these feature sets and capabilities are destined for higher performance, including better use of their HRMS software. Indeed, The 2011-12 CedarCrestone HR Systems Survey predicts that, "Two application categories will grow over 100% over the next three years: workforce analytics/ planning at 133% growth and social media tools at 107%." This highlights both an awareness of the issue as well as a potential skills training need—which will become increasingly widespread as employees and managers begin to use social media to access self-service and other functions.

Further, although early social media use in organizations tended to focus on basic tasks such as shift bidding, a more sophisticated level is emerging where social media is transforming e-recruitment by exponentially widening the applicant market, and for existing employees, the use of cross-functional collaborative groups is changing the face of learning and development. As David Metcalf states in his article, Companies Can Generate Even Higher Performance with Faster Learning, "…the promise of location-based services…brings together the Golden Triangle of mobile, social, and real-time". Far-removed from the basics of initial HR software training, each of these areas is ripe for post-implementation skill development and will likely need to be leveraged more than once as additional feature sets evolve.

HR System Training Focus #4: New hires

Finally, it is worth noting that the emphasis in points #1 to #3 above is on those employees who went through the implementation process and received basic HRMS system training prior to go-live. Increasingly as time moves on, there will be new recruits who are starting in the organization with an HR management system already part of what they do. These new employees will not only need the post-implementation advanced functionality training, but also the basics. At the very least, the HR software implementation training program should be evaluated, refined and improved in response to feedback and evaluation so that the new hires experience the best possible version. However, as HRMS software is constantly updated and expanded, it may be that new system-based training options become available and these in turn should be fully leveraged.

The HR Software Post-Implementation Training Bottom Line

Radiant Systems states that, "In order to gain the greatest [HRMS] return on investment ... end users must understand how to use the product to its fullest capabilities." The training to support these capabilities should be consolidated in a second phase of the ongoing HRMS training strategy, aligned with the program of HRMS improvements, which in turn must be aligned to the overall organizational strategic priorities. End

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In order to gain the greatest [HRMS] return on investment ... end users must understand how to use the product to its fullest capabilities. The training to support these capabilities should be consolidated in a second phase of the ongoing HRMS training strategy, aligned with the program of HRMS improvements, which in turn must be aligned to the overall organizational strategic priorities.


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