Top Ten Success Factors for HRIS Implementations

Diana Matwichuk, CHRP Candidate


Are you preparing to embark on an Human Resources Information System (HRIS) implementation? Get your ducks in a row for the effort ahead, and make the implementation as smooth as possible. Taking the following measures can greatly increase your chances of success.  


1.    Senior Management Support

Senior management’s interest and enthusiasm about the HRIS shows that they value the benefits that will be reaped from the HRIS. Since senior management set corporate direction, and an HRIS can assist HR in aligning with those objectives, their support for the implementation will likely be related to this alignment in some way. It may be important in your organization to ensure this level of support in order to garner some of the success factors listed below.


2.    Involvement of Stakeholders

Involve all stakeholders early in the implementation process to assist in defining the requirements and desired outputs, such as reporting and interfaces. Depending on the size of your organization, Payroll, IT, Finance, Training, Recruiting, and Benefits may be potential stakeholders. Early in the implementation process, identify who the key stakeholders are and encourage their participation.  Implementation of an HRIS implies change to existing processes, and early involvement of stakeholders serves to heighten their buy-in to the HRIS, cooperation and acceptance of that change.


3.    Risk Assessment

There are potential and unanticipated roadblocks in organizations that can pose a risk to the successful implementation of an HRIS. For example, are there pockets within your organization that are resistant to change? Are there any corporate initiatives that will conflict with the timing of the HRIS implementation and would compete for your effort, or reduce stakeholder availability? A risk assessment will identify these risks and outline how they will be managed or overcome. It is far better to have identified the risks upfront and have a plan for dealing with them, than to be doing so in the midst of an implementation. Senior management support may be necessary, depending on the nature of the plan that is developed to mitigate identified risks.


4.    Time Budgeted for the Implementation

A significant amount of effort is involved in migrating from an existing solution to a new HRIS. You will be involved in designing the HRIS, learning the new software and testing. The effort that you devote to being involved in the implementation will make the go-live seamless and ensure that you get the most value from the HRIS. Senior management support is essential, especially if redistribution of day-to-day HR responsibilities is required at certain stages during the implementation timeframe. Keep in mind that a fully-implemented HRIS will likely eliminate some of those time-consuming day-to-day manual activities, and so it is a matter of getting over that “hump”. Rather than allowing this competition for your time to prevent you from devoting effort to the HRIS implementation, identify it as a potential risk (see above) early in the project so that a plan can be developed to address the conflict.


5.    Job Analysis

Conduct a job analysis. Jobs need to be defined, along with the talent requirements, valuations, and salary guidelines. Once connections have been made between positions (to which you assign employees and for which budgeting is done) and these categorized jobs, it will be possible to fully utilize position management functionality in your HRIS, for objectives such as filling vacancies effectively, compensation planning and succession planning.  If you need assistance with conducting a job analysis, it is helpful to retain HR consulting services to complete this step prior to the implementation.


6.    Implementation Methodology

A structured approach to the implementation identifies key components that will act as building blocks to success. Many different recognized implementation methodologies exist. What is important is that you adopt one, and that it is suitable to your organization. Your software vendor will also have a preferred approach. An implementation methodology is different from a project plan, which incorporates those methodology components into a series of ordered milestones with deadlines. An implementation methodology provides content to the project plan, and the project plan delivers the methodology. Adopting an implementation methodology is a thorough approach and provides for stepping back to plan at a high level prior to delving into task completion – doing so contributes to success by preventing rework, encouraging process re-engineering, and getting to the real requirements.


7.    Business Process Overview (“BPO”)

A BPO involves mapping data sources, procedures and interfaces with other software. Usually the future state with the HRIS implemented will be quite different from the current state – for example, passing of data between the HRIS and other software may now be possible electronically rather than manually, or redundant data stores may be eliminated causing procedures to change.  The BPO provides a vision of the future state and acts as a guiding light throughout the implementation, to keep your team focused on the desired outcomes.  Do this early in the implementation as a means of involving all stakeholders, promoting the teamwork that will be required for sharing a database, flushing out all high-level requirements, establishing a common vision, and promoting acceptance of change.


8.    Clearly Defined Requirements

Requirements are as unique as the organizations that have them because HR strategies align with corporate strategies, and corporate strategies are unique. Document your requirements concisely, and include reporting needs in this step. This will help to ensure that the HRIS is configured to allow for the tracking of any data that will be required to meet reporting needs.  Definition of requirements is a level deeper in detail than a BPO, and equally important.


9.    Understanding of Data

An HRIS is data intensive. It is important to understand, prior to an implementation, where all existing HR data is being maintained, so that it can best be determined how that same data will be tracked in the new HRIS, and how data will be converted into the new HRIS from (potentially several) current sources. HRIS value will be optimized when population of data is planned, and data is transformed into information. This begins with an understanding of the data.


10. Openness to change

Embracing the change involved in an implementation in part relies on confidence in the product to meet the needs of your team, which can be addressed through the definition of requirements and the BPO. Preparedness for change opens the doors of thinking to creative solutions and reporting possibilities, which can actually increase the success of an implementation beyond original expectations. Promote openness to change throughout the steps identified above.



An HRIS implementation is a large project that can be broken down into smaller parts, to tackle one step at a time. Many of the success factors identified above are focused on establishing preparedness and developing an implementation plan that includes certain aspects. This will go a long way to ensuring the success of the implementation.



About the Author:


Diana Matwichuk is an HR Consultant and Implementation Specialist at Avanti Software Inc.  To contact Diana call 403-225-2366 x230, or email

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