Change management in HRIS: 5 reasons why programs fail…

Launching a new HRIS (tool) is a monumental task for any organisation. But ensuring its seamless integration into daily operations is an entirely different challenge… Despite the best intentions, many programs falter in their user adoption rates, leaving stakeholders baffled and frustrated. What factors contribute to these failures? From timing missteps to communication breakdowns, here are five critical reasons why HRIS transformation programs often struggle to gain traction.

It is extremely important to think about the change strategy. And this is true from the moment a company decides to implement a new HRIS.

It is also crucial to have strong, trusted representatives from all business parts involved in the conversation. From the start, during the initial project planning and decision-making stages through to testing, rollout and beyond.

If you reach the final system launch and the end users are still asking: “Who decided this? Why? And saying this won’t work for legal reasons”, it seems clear that you have made user adoption much, much harder!


The noise ramps up for the launch, the system works, there are big events and emails with senior leadership messages and then… silence.

At best, the system works perfectly and all users are engaged appropriately. But in reality, there may be bugs or problems when the reality of HR daily life meets the best practice system design.

A hypercare plan should include helping the end users resolve their queries as quickly as possible, acknowledging any issues and keeping all stakeholders informed. Later on is there a plan needed for process improvement and system optimisation?


Anything less than cooperation by many people with even a small part to play in the success of the project can lead to problems… sooner or later.

The end users may not feel represented by the people who are involved in the design and IT development of the new system. If these people come and go throughout the project, then a level of trust and buy-in to the system design can be lost. How can you record design decisions in a way that makes sense to newcomers unfamiliar with the project from the start?

If the senior leadership in a company don’t cascade positive messages of support about the project, this can lead to low level of interest or resistance to adoption. Support for a new system needs to come top down, in the middle, and ground up.

If a project team is made-up of technical experts focussed on their own responsibilities, who is bridging the gaps and thinking of the people who play a small (but vital) role in the launch of a new system? IT for existing practices getting new starters set-up in the company, payroll, legal or managers who need to do something infrequently in the system but need to know how and why as soon as they do.

It’s easy for the people who use a system every day to become experts. But if occasional users are not engaged, internal processes can soon breakdown.   


A change management plan can often be seen as one-way communication only. Whilst planning what messages, you need to transmit to which audience and when, is crucial. You also need to think about the channels your audience has for communicating back to the project leaders.

If the only communication channel open to the end-user is the first training session, then you can expect to need time during the training for participants to express themselves and explain their concerns with the new ways of working.

It is essential to allow the end-users opportunities to express their concerns as the project develops. And to show them that you have taken their feedback onboard. It might not change the way things are done, but if they can start to see you are listening and there are reasons behind certain decisions, it will help to move people towards acceptance and ultimately to them championing the tool.


Of course, it’s important to focus on what you can control and draw boundaries. But just because something is out of scope, that doesn’t mean it won’t affect your project.

For example, a global company operating in one language decides that for practical reasons the project will be rolled out in that one language only (the tool may be available in multiple languages via system translations). The reality is that most multinational companies have workers at all levels who don’t speak the main operating language.

If the central project team is only going to provide training, communication and support materials on one language, the burden will fall on local HR teams to provide the translations and communicate with all local users. As a minimum, factor this time into your project plan and provide clear expectations from the start. So that, local HR teams can understand, prepare and cascade information in good time.

A variety of tools can be used to segment and analyse your audience and create a strategic change management plan. But if you don’t involve the key users (HR, Managers and influencers at all levels), they will be quick to notice problems and create noise that can make it harder to move forward positively.

Start early and keep the momentum going well past the launch if you need to keep users engaged with data quality and process improvements. It’s a system but the end users, stakeholders and the project team have human emotions… and these shouldn’t be ignored!

Any questions? A project in mind? Contact us here and let's talk !

Olivia SINEL

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