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Change Management and HRIS

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    In this case we would like to discuss the process of implementing a new HRIS system in the organization, and the possible areas of issues caused by this change and the alternative ways to increase the success of the implementation process. 1. Evaluation of the situation. First of all, Julia Woodland was on the right track. She wanted to make significant changes. The steps she has taken show her experience and professionalism how to fix the mess in the HR department. Julia has divided the issues into two categories: immediate and long-term.

    The outsourcing of the recruitment at that point of time is a good idea. It allows getting the job done by outside party while implementing the changes inside of organization. She has concentrated on the project and has established the deadlines. However, she should have thought about the proper communication of the changes to other employees who are affected by the upcoming change. In addition, she should have invited the IT people and the representative from the financial department to the meetings with the new HRIS vendor to make sure the new HRIS would work and be effective for all affected departments. . Involvement of people. Julia has a support of the executive which is important to have at first place. However, Julia could have gone extra mile which would have helped her to implement changes without resistance from other employees. First of all, she should have got together with her staff to discuss the changes. In addition, she should have enlisted the support from IT Director and the Finance Manager. All employees mentioned above are influenced by the change in the first place. On the contrary, the success of the change depends on their approval.

    According to Nadler’s congruence theory, the organizations are systems which will work only if there is congruence between the various organizational subsystems. 1 Julia was in the hurry to met the deadlines and have lost the important step of the change process involving some but not all necessary people into the process. 3. The errors of Julia’s Woodland. Ms. Woodland was very welcomed by her staff. They gave her the credit of trust. However, she did not pay it back. She started putting her new ideas into practice without communicating with her employees. In this case the eople were lost about what is happening in the company and what the results are going to be for each individual. The “parade of candidates for new HR Representative Position”2 coming every day made people worry about their positions and influenced the sense of job security. This why the morale has decreased and people refused to support the upcoming changes. Julia’s overconfidence played a negative role and caused a danger of failure to the project. The successful projects should have a clearly identified project scope and strategy that outline key business requirements and project goals.

    This information should have been clearly outlined to the staff. It is hard for the employees who have done the job in the other way for long period of time to accept changes. Nobody wants to leave their comfort zone. This new HRIS project is not simply a new technology. It requires a change in organizational culture. The time, additional training and resources are required during the unfreezing stage to prepare employees for the new technology. If Julia paid attention to it, the change would have been bought in.

    The cultural issues. Culture of the organization is a set of rules and traditions which guide employees’ behavior. Although some leaders do not pay attention to it when implementing the change, it does have influence on the success. In our case Julia Woodland did not take the organizational culture into consideration. She did not realize that the financial department preferred to do financial reports in the way they had done it for many years as well as the HR staff did not understand the changes they were involved to and why they could not continue to do the job the way they used to.

    The employees were confident they did the job extremely well. However, the new person came and indirectly said the things are not that well. Obviously, the staff does not like it. On the contrary, Julia assumed that everyone would be excited about the new system, but she never talked to anybody about their perception of change except the CEO. This has caused a lot of problems for her. She has developed a strategy of her new vision of the HRIS. However, she did not spend time to check the resources and systems available in the company. Furthermore, the organization’s cultural profile was not ready for the change.

    The employees were not familiar with the new system and its benefits. At this point it causes more problems and additional work to them. Nobody has an idea why the extra work should be done and what future benefits are. Thus, the culture has one direction, Julia’s strategy goes another way, and company’s resources and systems take the third road. Julia should have taken these elements into consideration, because their alignment determines the success of the change. What is more, Julia did not pay attention to the variety of generations involved in the change. The cultural concerns are different within different age groups.

    The younger generation feels more comfortable with new technology, the older people may be less in favor of those changes. Those issues should be taken into consideration and addressed when putting new HRIS into practice. 5. Communication plan for the implementation. Obviously, Julia has overlooked the importance of the communication. In this situation she did get the support from the top management because she accurately communicated what she was doing and why. However, the next step should have been talking to the IT Managers and Finance Managers who are directly involved in the process of implementation.

    As well as the staff from HR department, they need to have a clear vision of future. This is the step which creates the excitement and energy for change. Next step would be to communicate the plan of getting to the desired future which will mobilize people toward a common direction. Some examples from other companies would help to persuade the employees in achievability of the project. The clear expectations would prepare people for the change and reduce the uncertainty and fair. When all involved departments would be on board for change, the employees could be informed through emails, newsletters and their managers.

    However, the meeting can be hold if there are a lot of clarification requirements. Furthermore, the survey can be a good tool to evaluate the outcome of the change and see the gaps. However, one of the worst outcomes of a survey is having the results ignored, or discussed but never used, and not communicated back to employees. This frustrates employees and gives them the impression their input is not really wanted. 3 All this will help to gain the commitment from the bottom to the top levels of the company.

    6. The use of training. The training is an essential part when implementing a change, especially when the new technology and work processes are involved.. Julia did not consider training as an important component of change management. However, the training plan should be developed. It includes the assessment of current skills and knowledge the employees have regarding new technology and processes. The training at the beginning of change will decrease the uncertainty among employees and ensure their ability to function on the new required technological level. The work environment can influence transfer of training before and after training.

    Management actions prior to a training program send signals and messages to employees about the importance of training and the extent to which the organization supports the training. Events that occur after the training program in the post-training environment can also influence the transfer of training. Supervisors play a key role in post-training environment by providing a support to the employees in getting used to HRIS. 4 However, one needs to remember that the full training should be provided before the new HRIS system will be used.

    In this way the detailed knowledge about the usage of new system could be put into practice right away and remembered by employees. 7. Increase in user acceptance of the system. There are some important steps to increase user acceptance of the system. The communication of the changes, involvement of users into the process, and on-going training will definitely help end users to feel ownership of the new system. When the users know what the reasoning for the change is, they participate in the planning, acceptance testing, and conversion to a new HRIS. Their commitment to the project increases.

    Asking for feedback could be also a good idea to support the change. However, in our particular case the extensive rewards may increase the user acceptance of change. Since the first impression from the new HRIS system has been negative, the rewards may help people to buy in the project. We would also recommend Julia to use force field analysis to understand the dynamics of change. She needs to evaluate the driving forces and restraining forces of change Toolkit. 5 This will help her to determine the steps of implementation the change through reinforcing the driving forces and eliminating restraining forces.

    This will help to decrease the resistance to change and its acceptance. 8. The potential benefits of process reengineering. Software reengineering is often associated with business process reengineering (BPR). However, they should never be confused. Software reengineering is the improvement of software systems. The objective of BPR is to increase the efficiency of an organization’s business processes. Software reengineering is of little value if the software system does not correlate to the changes made in the BPR.

    Potentially, reengineering of the processing would provide the following benefits: lower costs of reengineering the existing system, lower risks of losing the information, better use of existing staff while automating many processes which have been done manually before, and reengineering can be carried by stages based on the resources and budget available. 6 Process reengineering while implementing the new HRIS system in The Grant Corporation could potentially save processing time during recruitment and selection, payroll and benefit enrolment procedures.

    Most of the processes would have been automated. In addition, it would have organized the personal information of all employees and simplified the access to necessary documentation by both managers and workers. 9. What steps should the HR department take to ensure proper maintenance and support of the system? The HR department should determine who will be responsible for the maintenance of the system in future; either it will be done in house or outsourced to third company. This consists of system updates as well as legal compliance adjustments and organizational changes’ reflection.

    The privacy and security subject should be taken care of too. Julia may also find it helpful to dedicate one of her staff to be responsible for HRIS specifically who would report to her. Moreover, the help desk should be established to assist end users with any arising issues. User satisfaction level with the system should be measured effectively and any identified corrections should be addressed right away. In addition, continuous training and updated information provided to the change participants would refreeze the implemented HRIS into organization’s culture and employees’ everyday work life.

    Thus, Julia Woodland has made many mistakes while implementing the new HRIS. However, there are some tools of successful change management which she can use and accomplish the company’s goal – to have a significantly focused HR department which would be better equipped to handle organizational needs.

    Endnotes

    1. Michael J. Kavanagh,. Mohan Thite, Human Resources Information Systems: Basics, Applications, and Future Directions. (Thousand Oaks, California, United States of America: Sage Publication, Inc. , 2009), 182. . Michael J. Kavanagh,. Mohan Thite, Human Resources Information Systems: Basics, Applications, and Future Directions. (Thousand Oaks, California, United States of America: Sage Publication, Inc. , 2009), 204. 3. David Zatz, Employee Surveys: a Tool for Change. (Toolpack Information. Toolpack Consulting, LLC) http://www. toolpack. info/articles/surveys-for-change. html 4. Alan Saks, Managing Performance through Training and Development, Fifth Edition. (United States of America: Nelson Education Ltd, 2010), 292. 5. Tupper Cawsey, Gene Deszca, Toolkit for Organizational Change, Wilfrid Laurier University. (Thousand Oaks, California, United States of America: Sage Publication, Inc. , 2009), 186. 6. Atlantis Technologies, Benefits of Reengineering a Legacy System. http://www. atlantistechgroup. com/Resources/Migration/Benefits. htm

    Bibliography

    Atlantis Technologies. “Benefits of Reengineering a Legacy System” http://www. atlantistechgroup. com/Resources/Migration/Benefits. htm Cawsey, Tupper, Deszca, Gene. Toolkit for Organizational Change. Wilfrid Laurier University. Thousand Oaks, California, United States of America: Sage Publication, Inc. , 2009. Kavanagh, Michael J. , Thite, Mohan. Human Resources Information Systems: Basics, Applications, and Future Directions. Thousand Oaks, California, United States of America: Sage Publication, Inc. , 2009 Saks, Alan. Managing Performance through Training and Development. Fifth Edition. United States of America: Nelson Education Ltd: 2010 Zatz, David. “Employee Surveys: a Tool for Change”. Toolpack Information. Toolpack Consulting, LLC. http://www. toolpack. info/articles/surveys-for-change. html

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