Conquering Change Management One Step at a Time

Often the impact on payroll is an afterthought when global organizations consider changes to managing their human capital programs. And whether you’re implementing new systems, conducting wider HR transformations, or planning for strategic growth, payroll must be part of the conversation. Those conversations need to be driven from the top with clear motivations and strategic goals that will benefit from the change. By creating a change management plan that starts with why you are making these changes, you set up your team and your project for success.

Don’t forget that substantial changes like global expansion or consolidation of a disparate multinational workforce can lead to significant changes to how payroll is processed. Failure to plan for the impact of that change can cause problems that everyone –  whether it’s your newest employee or in-country regulations officials – will take notice of if it’s not managed correctly.

Change Requires a Plan

As you embark on implementing a new global payroll or HCM system, having a change management plan can help you get ahead of the questions that will arise. Additionally, it will prepare you for the dozens of considerations needed to ensure you put the right tools in place at the right time. Changes to systems not only change the outcomes (for the better hopefully!) but the processes and workflows your employees depend on to do their jobs. The need to manage not just process changes but the wider employees’ experiences are critical to garnering the buy-in you need.

Don’t Change for the Sake of Change

At the root of your decision to embark upon a change of this magnitude are the strategic decisions that are being driven by the corporate vision. While everyone understands that change is inevitable, being able to share this and the benefits you seek to gain will create the buy-in you want from stakeholders. And your change management becomes substantially easier.

Start by outlining the corporate goals and vision behind these changes and answer some fundamental questions:

– What is the intended target operating model (the high-level operational strategy to achieve the corporate goal or vision behind these changes)?

– What areas are impacted by the change? From people to procedures, technology to pay slips, which of these areas require change management?

– How will the organization measure performance against those goals and who will measure it?

– How will the course be adjusted based on those measurements and who will be responsible for carrying out those changes?

Planning to Manage the Change

With a clear outline of the goals of the HCM and payroll changes, planning for what you need to consider as you change your systems and processes begins.

– Currently the payroll process works, doesn’t it? Bring in your payroll leadership and begin to assess the potential impact upon every step in the process through the change. You need to determine whether your current payroll solution will be able to help you accomplish the goals you set forward for the overall project. Remember, the payroll process works, but your changes should include recommendations on how they will work better after the change.

– Changes require documentation. You need to be prepared for the loss of institutional knowledge that exists as a part of your current payroll, finance, and HR teams’ processes. Review the current needs and information (rules, earning and deduction codes, statutory documentation, enhanced company benefits, etc.) that may be currently intrinsic to the payroll processing structure. If these are not documented, you will need to start to document them to support processing payroll after you change systems.

– HR isn’t the only stakeholder, but perhaps one of the most important. Change management needs to work from an operational standpoint and, when it comes to global payroll and an HCM systems change, it takes a significant amount of HR buy-in. When HR isn’t integral in the process unwarranted challenges can arise. However, to secure HR adoption, engaging them in identifying how to best work through the change and who will own the responsibilities of change management goes a long way to leading your project to success.

– Communicate to ensure commitment. Communicate early and often to secure critical employee buy-in.  Buy-in can be achieved by communicating throughout the process using a communication strategy that puts people first. Change can be intimidating, but if teams understand the benefits of the changes, they are more engaged in the process and committed to making the new process work. Beyond connecting the teams to the reasons for the change, provide transparency around the timelines and steps along the way to completing the transition. People drive change, consistent communication keeps them engaged and a part of the change process.

Change isn’t easy – otherwise, you wouldn’t need to manage it! But the changes your organization is making are an opportunity to accomplish strategic goals and process and services improvements. You need this to go smoothly as it affects your employees directly. And with some planning and guidance, you can conquer change management and your transition to new payroll and HCM systems and processes.