Case study: Engaging staff with a new HRIS and payroll system at Charles Stanley

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​The HR team at Charles Stanley implemented an HRIS and payroll system in just three months

So they must have got something right in engaging their employees with the rollout of Oracle Fusion, just over a year ago.

Kate Griffiths-Lambeth, group director of human resources at the financial services company, explains that communication at all stages was the cornerstone for this success; something that began before the new system was even brought on board.

Prior to the launch, HR ran small focus groups with representatives from across the business, who would then act as ambassadors of the tool.

To ensure that employees understood the benefits, rather than just seeing ‘yet another’ HR system, language was key. This meant spelling out to employees how being able to access their payslips via an app would make their lives easier, and showing them the relevant, real-world benefits. They would, for example, be able to provide evidence when applying for a mortgage without needing HR to give them hard copies of payslips.

It was also critical that the HR team was honest about the fact that the new system was, in some ways, worse than the old system. For instance, the absence booking module is clunky compared to the small proprietary system previously used.

“It was best to be honest and upfront about the issue, rather than trying to ignore it or pretend that the new system was as good. We then worked hard behind the scenes to make the module better and, hence, were seen to have been proactive and responsive to the constructive but critical feedback that we received post-launch,” says Griffiths-Lambeth.

The HR team acknowledges that they underestimated the level of pushback from employees against the new system and that, in hindsight, ambassadors should have been engaged more and sooner to help spread the word. But by using a raft of tools, the team was still able to achieve the critical buy-in needed for such a short implementation window.

Tools such as roadshows, team meetings, videos, how-to guides, infographics, screenshots and demos were used to ensure employees were not left in the dark figuring out how to use the new system.

“If you want to make it more fun, you can hide messages within the system and have a competition for the person who finds them (similar to a treasure hunt) as a way of getting people to explore. You can also train local ambassadors to provide support and encouragement to colleagues and award them in a way that appeals,” explains Griffiths-Lambeth.

She adds that having dashboards on call to make evidence-based decisions has been a “valuable sweetener” to compensate for the time required to learn how to use the new system.

But, while it is important to be sympathetic to employees’ resistance to change, the HR team decided a ‘stick’ as well as a ‘carrot’ incentive was necessary.

“We made it compulsory for people to use the system to record appraisals and training needs. It was announced to everyone across the company that people with eligibility for consideration for a discretionary bonus would forfeit their right to a bonus, as would their manager, if an appraisal meeting did not occur and if it was not recorded on the system,” says Griffiths-Lambeth.

The result? 100% completion of appraisals for the past two years.

This piece appeared in the October 2019 HR Technology Supplement

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