The Importance of Stakeholders in Your HRIS Implementation
Stakeholder’s management is a key component of change management during a project, yet, experience shows that it is rarely conducted in a structured way during HRIS (or other) projects. Its efficiency, therefore, usually depends on the appetite and the “natural” talent of the project leader for this type of activities. This explains why numerous projects end up with no stakeholders’ management at all (or only sponsors’ management) and with little commitment to the project and the new HRIS from the future users or clients of the system.
So what would be a structured approach for stakeholders’ engagement?
- Identify the stakeholders’ groupings for your project and the main impacts / risks / benefits through an impact analysis (more on this in a future post) at the very beginning of the project
- Identify influential stakeholders in the most impacted groupings (decision maker, opinion leader, key resource, “loudmouth”…) and map their positions vs. the project
- Build an action plan to define which positions need to shift and how you can try to achieve this; the point here being to identify actions, owners, and deadlines
- Include this action plan in your change management plan to ensure consistency vs. communication actions
- Review the stakeholders mapping and action plan on a monthly basis to follow-up the efficiency of your actions.
If you wonder what type of engagement actions you could implement, you should keep in mind that the most effective change management lever is not convincing people, but making them act. So implicate your main stakeholders in the project. You can start from the impact analysis, through workshops and interviews, go on with awareness sessions or focus groups during the design phase, ask some of them to participate in the UAT, delegate to them the responsibility to cascade the communication on the project towards their teams, listen to their lessons learnt on the 1st phases of the project, etc. There are plenty of means that can be adapted to your company’s culture and the characteristics of your stakeholders, including of course, the always useful face to face meetings.
So whatever the context, the key points to keep in mind are:
- Make sure you forget nobody
- Engage your stakeholders regularly and keep them engaged until the end of the project
- Listen to what they have to suggest
- Don’t hesitate to review your stakeholders engagement approach if it doesn’t work
- Use all possible opportunities to set your stakeholders into move.