Take a deep breath, you’ve made it. Your new system is up and running and has been rolled out to managers and employees. What comes next? How do you make sure that you keep using all of the features of your system and continue to grow with the platform?
Assess the project. It’s always good at the end of a project to take a brief look back. You may not regularly do projects of this scale but looking back at what you felt went well and what could have gone better can be of great value in several areas. Simply because these are unusual projects, you can learn a lot about your team and skills they have that you didn’t know about or things that you would like to see them improve. Use this to help guide your employee growth so that when you are ready for another big project you have built a deeper internal set of skills. Also, if you are willing to share your feedback with your vendor it can be useful for them to understand how you came out of the implementation and how they can help you get the most from your system going forward.
Training and documentation. During your implementation you were trained on how to use your system and given documentation. However, as your system is going to be customized to your business needs, it’s important for you to document your own internal processes using the system to supplement the vendor documentation. Don’t limit yourself to just how to use the system, but make sure to include the steps that happen outside of the system as well. It’s also beneficial to plan for turnover and cross training so that you aren’t left scrambling when you have a staffing change. Think about where you can rely on and refer to the system documentation and where you might need to make something unique to your operations to capture the way that you are working day-to-day.
Plan for future projects. Chances are your system has additional features that weren’t part of your initial implementation plan. If you don’t have a long-term strategy for getting the most out of your system, now is the time to make it. Think about the other modules that are on your strategic plan and put them in priority order. Many clients take a strategy where they have rolled out payroll, time and benefits right away and then schedule out performance reviews to be ready in time for the next year reviews, with compensation management to follow and so forth. The main goal is to have a plan. It’s easy to get implementation fatigue and to never get to that ideal state. Take the time now to work with your vendor to discuss how you want this to work. It’s also important to share with your leadership team so that they know what else is coming and for you to understand if there’s a cost associated so that you can plan your budget accordingly.
Understand enhancements. Software improves and changes over time. Learn how your software communicates those changes to you, and how you can have input on future enhancements. Make sure to watch out for new features that may allow you to automate a process that you couldn’t make fully digital during implementation and keep up to date on the changes as they come. Look into how enhancements are communicated and how you can get support with utilizing them down the road.
Payroll, timekeeping and human capital systems are big, complex things. Implementing a new one is a major project and it’s understandable why you might not want to think about it for a while after, but keeping your eyes forward on future changes and developing a plan for expanded use allows you to be proactive, budget appropriately and train your staff in advance of those needs for your business.