The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

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I feel like I always talk about change management and adoption.  When implementing a new system, I can definitely say that over the last few years I’ve seen a marked improvement in the diligence of internal implementation project managers in stressing the importance of behavioral change and end user adoption.  It is honestly so easy once you get into implementations to forget about the strategic components of the implementation and simply sit around doing functional requirements and config.  Unfortunately this is the tactical behind the project, and often minimizes the strategic.  I was pleased to see the 2.0 Adoption Community and Jacob Morgan stress this as well.

To really see successful adoption companies need to focus on the benefits of the user first and the benefits of the company second.  You can’t approach a user and ask them to change behaviors because it benefits the company.  Companies need to approach the user and tell them how it will benefit them.  This is a bit of psychological approach but it’s important.  Employees put their needs first and company needs second so if you show them how Enterprise 2.0 can help them make their job easier then they are much more likely to listen.

You also need to focus on use cases  before deploying a platform and strategy.  So for example how is someone in the marketing department going to benefit  from Enterprise 2.0 vs someone from the product development team.  You need to develop use cases for the various departments and understand what the risks, challenges, and opportunities are for each department.  Finally, you need to understand how each department is going to measure success/failure.  I’ll go into this a bit more in a future post but the point here is that everyone is going to have different needs and you must understand what those needs are.  ((Morgan, Jacob, December 21, 2009.  “Strategic Principles for Enterprise 2.0 Implementation.”))

I like the simply phrased “user first and company second.”  While I understand that the user never gets the opportunity to change behaviors if the product does not get configured, that does not change that the primary stress is to ensure end user adoption and behavioral change.  In terms of behavioral change, Jacob Morgan is absolutely correct.  You’ve heard me talk about behavioral change and the “personal win” before.  Employee’s don’t really care about the benefit to the company.  Sometimes they don’t even care about the efficiency gains they get from a process and work perspective.  It’s about some intangible personal win that they derive – sometimes it’s the participation in the implementation that they gain advantage from, or the experience in the software that is much sought after.  Either way, you have to determine what will make an employee excited and figure out how to message so that you are deploying the right messages to the right audiences.

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2 responses to “Users First, Company Second”

  1. Nikhil Avatar

    We have seen many a implementation fail due to lack of change management. ALso seen excellent implementations succeed due to fine change management initiatives. One which started from the inception of the project & till the system went live. As you say, this change management was actually managed by a Organizational Psychologist.
    We have started a new blog which looks at all aspects of a HR technology implementation from a different perspective & also from a Indian flavor.


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