You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and you never get a second opportunity to implement talent management software. You either do it right or you suffer the consequences for the remainder of your tenure as a human resources leader.
When all is said and done — and you've selected a vendor with input from IT, procurement and finance leaders — how do you guarantee that your implementation team won't go wrong? How do you have the right conversations to ensure that the users' perspectives are honored? How do you support the needs of the organization while simultaneously setting up your HR colleagues for success?
I think it's important for human resources leaders to get clear and specific about their roles before the RFP is ever written.
Here are some things HR can do to ensure your organization is successful when implementing talent management software.
Be stewards of culture
When you start implementing talent management software, people become territorial. Members of your procurement team guard against being overcharged. IT works to simplify complex systems while safeguarding the company infrastructure from unnecessary risks. Finance does what finance does, which is to call too many meetings and throw up far too many roadblocks.
Your human resources team needs to work hard as cultural stewards, keeping one eye on strategic business goals while asking, "How does this play in Peoria?"
Your users—which include managers, directors, executives, employees and other HR professionals, too—have highly differentiated needs that aren't always the easiest to decipher.
Dig deep into the well of empathy and ask if you're solving the right problems, if your solutions are simple and elegant, and if the processes and behaviors you're embedding are consistent with your company's values.
Relentlessly focus on HR strategy
You don't have to believe in conscious capitalism to know that a good HR strategy is a good business strategy. When implementing talent management software, HR can be the connector between people, passion, and profits.
Nobody likes fiefdoms or silos. However, protecting your HR department's interests should mean that you're protecting the interests of employees, executives, and shareholders who expect all users to be represented in all personnel-related exercises within the company.
Leverage outside expertise
HR professionals are often the first to say, "I don't know what I don't know."
When in doubt, partner with your talent management software vendor who should have former practitioners on their internal implementation team. You're in this for the long haul, so don't be afraid to ask more from your software provider as they are both a vendor and collaborator. Your success as a client is tied to their future success in the marketplace.
No former HR leaders in their midst? More than likely, your vendor has excellent relationships with academic and HR thought-leaders who advise their organization on best-practices.
Don't be afraid to take a pause and consult with specialists and advisors who know the best and worst possible outcomes of talent management software implementations.
And never be afraid to ask, "What don't I know? What questions am I not asking?"
Make implementing talent management software a great experience
Implementing talent management software can be a daunting, arduous experience. Pleasing multiple constituencies is never easy.
The best place for HR to start is by doing right by the HR function itself. Be a steward of culture, be obsessed with your HR strategy, and ask your vendor-partner to connect you with the best and the brightest minds in talent management.
Get started on this journey properly, and you might be surprised at how pleasant it is to implement — and then use — cutting-edge talent management software.