3 ways to tell your HRIS implementation has been a success

You’ve implemented a new HRIS but was that implementation successful? And how to measure that success? The system may be functioning perfectly and yet be an utter failure.

It’s tempting to go the ‘gut instinct’ route. After all, everything’s working, the sky hasn’t fallen, and it ‘feels’ like a successful conclusion to months of work. But surface appearances and anecdotal feedback aren’t certain indicators of success. Instead, you need hard information…

1. Are people using it?

This is not the same as asking whether everyone has a user account or whether they know howto access and use the system. No, the bottom line here is whether people are actually using your new HRIS or whether it’s in danger of becoming an expensive white elephant. After all, however fancy it is, if your users avoid using your HRIS, it’s a failure.

Measure the percentage of users accessing the system for their HR needsand compare that to the numbers and types of pre-system HR transactions. Ideally, the target is 100% adoption but you might want to set a less stretching goal first and work your way up, using the results – whatever they are – as the foundation of your ongoing HRIS improvement and engagement strategy.

2. Return on Investment

This is the numbers one. Put simply, are the benefits you’re seeing from the system worth the cost of implementing it?

First, establish the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your new HRIS. TCO includes the cost of the system itself, any necessary hardware, supporting software, people’s time, any external consultancy, and the cost of training users. What exactly did you spend on each of these areas?

Now calculate hard cost figures for each of the system’s benefits to determine HRIS ROI, including:

  • Time saved due to streamlined HR processes.
  • Labor savings thanks to self-service HR transactions (expressed either as full-time equivalents or per capita).
  • Improved employee retention (e.g. the cost of the recruitment campaigns you’re didn’trun compared to pre-system times).
  • The drop in employee turnover.
  • Improved HR productivity.
  • Headcount reduction (due to requiring less staff to provide improved HR services).

Some of these costs are ongoing, both on the system side and the benefits side. However, a successfully implemented HRIS will see the value of its benefits exceed the costs over time.

3. Feedback

What are people saying? Think back to the stakeholder groups you consulted during the selection and implementation processes. Do they feel they got what they needed? Do they feel they were sufficiently involved in the project? Are they enjoying the anticipated benefits and efficiencies? What about indirect stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, and even government (e.g. how well does the HRIS aid you in complying with the relevant employment legislation)?

As well as the system itself, this is an opportunity to review your project management process: in terms of the planning of the HRIS implementation:

  • What could be done differently in similar projects in future?
  • How well were unforeseen problems or delays dealt with?
  • What were the successes, what went particularly well? And how can you repeat these factors in future?

Finally, because implementation is not an isolated process in the life cycle of your HRIS, think about the implications for your future HR strategy: Has this review thrown up any additional features that people would have found useful? What future upgrades might be beneficial? Are there any features that didn’t need to be included after all? These and other questions are essential because they turn a static review exercise into an integral element in your strategic thinking.