Planning to upgrade compensation management with new software? It's a common issue right now. I live in technology gulch so you'd think these issues were long dealt with here, but when we asked the members of the local compensation association for their hot topics, software topics were in the top five -- software selection and optimizing software metrics.
Sorry to say, they didn't include what is often the biggest hurdle -- software implementation. Somehow it's often overlooked, to the detriment of the improvements offered by software let alone the size of the investment. HR often stays stuck in the, "If we build it, they will come" mentality.
The problem is I can name companies that have fallen into the trap of announcing the new software, assuming everyone will "get it" and adopt right away. And yet a year later, employees and managers in those companies are avoiding many aspects of the software, and are gossiping about the ones they do use. Gallup calls it, " . . . having the tool but not the culture to support it."
Implementation challenges are not unique to the introduction of internal software. There is now a small industry addressing digital adoption for Fortune 500s; in other words, teaching these companies how to engage their customers to use the full suite of a company's web-based digital content. Experience is amazingly valuable in a software implementation, so I encourage you to work with those in your organization who have this kind of experience when you plan to introduce a sophisticated, organization-wide software, even if they aren't in HR.
So I'm not saying implementation is easy, or that you just need to put more time into it. I am saying, we rarely put the time and thought into getting the most out of these investments. Since our implementation reticence is common, software companies could limit HR ability to release the software until they've passed a security gate. And instead of making it facial recognition, make it a requirement to invite a manager or two to use the software while HR staff take notes on their choices, preferences, misinterpretations and questions.
Why suggest this type of gatekeeper approach? Software adoption WILL NOT OCCUR if you don't apply solid understanding of how users outside of HR navigate the software the first time through -- based on watching them and talking with them -- so you can create realistic implementation steps that help people adjust and adapt.
And don't think you'll be able to loop around and fix things as they occur. Experience shows that once managers' attitudes about software become negative, you may not be able to change their minds. REALLY.
So if your software company suggests that you can save time and money by using their off-the-shelf announcement materials, keep your wits about you. Software implementation isn't about meeting a deadline, it's about getting managers to join your implementation team. Unlikely if you send them robo-announcements.
Likely, though, when your communications talk to managers as they would prefer, helping them avoid annoying technical obstacles and showing them how the software will solve their problems and make them feel more effective. Then you'll have an implementation process that intentionally "brands" the new software as helpful to your managers.
Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP brings deep expertise to discussions on employee pay, performance management, career development and communications at the Café. Her firm, re:Think Consulting, provides market pay information and designs base salary structures, incentive plans, career paths and their implementation plans. Earlier, she was a Principal at Willis Towers Watson. Margaret is a Board member of the Bay Area Compensation Association (BACA). She coauthored the popular eBook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communications, a toolkit that all practitioners can find at https://gumroad.com/l/everythingiscommunication.