Making the decision to change your global payroll solution isn’t easy—and it’s just the beginning of a potentially lengthy and challenging process. However, a massive transformation project doesn’t have to be hard on the people involved. By focusing your efforts on select key areas, as discussed in the Change Management in Global Payroll paper, your project team can accomplish a successful transformation and set the stage for a growth-focused future.
Helping employees understand and accept the change is essential to its success, which is why good change management relies on aligning goals and bringing everyone involved along the journey. Engagement and communication with employees throughout the transformation will help earn support and allay any concerns. To fully engage your employees and empower your implementation team, make a plan to provide the following five things to everyone impacted by the change.
While some people involved in your existing global payroll process will be aware of the need for change and potential benefits, it’s unlikely that everyone impacted by the change will know why it’s happening. Once the implementation team has a plan and schedule, it’s important to begin raising awareness of the reasons behind the system change, as well as the expected benefits and opportunities provided by the new process. Some people are naturally uncomfortable with change, especially when it could significantly impact their job or daily activities. Helping everyone understand the thinking behind the switch and see the upside of implementing a new system will help employees accept the change and make the implementation process easier.
Understanding the benefits of a process change is one thing; understanding how it benefits you is another. When employees discover how a new system will improve their roles directly, they find the motivation to help ensure the project’s success. Rather than accepting it, your employees will desire the change because they want better results, a smoother process, more time for high-value tasks, or any number of other benefits. Building motivation makes the experience personal for employees, which imparts an important sense of ownership and the desire to see the project succeed in implementation and beyond.
One of the biggest pitfalls of any change project is frustration, which can lead to disengagement or even resistance from employees. Project teams can be proactive in avoiding frustration by sharing knowledge with those impacted by the change on a regular, progressive basis. Using your implementation schedule as a guide, develop a plan to give employees the information they need to understand how the new system will work and how their responsibilities will be affected, as well as details of when and how the switch will happen. By sharing practical information throughout the change process, you can counteract any sense of uncertainty and help employees feel prepared, informed, and ready for the new system when it goes live.
Every employee impacted by the change, whether in payroll, HR, accounting, IT, or another department, deserves to participate in the change process. A key part of building motivation for the change, employee participation can be as much or as minimal as appropriate—as long as it happens. Teams can identify and rank the potential benefits most significant for them, or involved departments can send a representative to regular project team meetings for updates. Whether within teams or with the project leaders, it’s important for employees to feel able to express concerns or ideas and have them addressed. By soliciting participation early in the transformation process, you can identify issues sooner and promote acceptance of the change throughout implementation.
Change management doesn’t end at go-live. Once the new system is up and running, employees will need tools and support to reinforce the changes and continue adapting to the new process. Depending on the scope of your transformation, this support could include additional system training, resource guides, or test scenarios. It’s also important to evaluate both performance and comfort with the new system on an ongoing basis. Managers should conduct regular follow-up meetings with the team or individuals to assess the outcomes of the change, discuss any new or lingering issues, and identify opportunities for additional training or improvement. By continuing to support employees beyond implementation, managers and company leadership can reinforce their commitment to the change and to providing a good work environment for employees.
By involving employees at an appropriate level throughout your global payroll transformation, you can avoid many of the challenges that can disrupt change initiatives. You’re making the decision to change for good reasons. Letting your employees share in and feel part of that thinking can have significant benefits that last well beyond go-live.