Remember the last time someone told you, “time to change the software you’re using”?
That’s not the question you want to ask if you seriously want people to change software.
Likely the first reaction is negative – from irritation to anger – even though that software might make you more efficient, save money, and in the long run, make your job easier.
It’s human nature to fight change and no where is that fight seen better than in the software business.
We provide compensation management software and know from experience that getting people to accept a change in software isn’t easy.
Otherwise, why would more than 50% (by many estimates) of companies still use Excel to manage their compensation?
One reason is because it’s easier not to change, than to change. Before you jump into software features, understand that the solution is about more than business, it’s about people.
Begin with the Facts – Human Resources Software Means Change
Getting people to embrace software and the change it creates within companies is often like herding cats – for each part of the company who supports the change, another doesn’t.
Plus management may see things differently, and often at the end of the process, when knowing their objections before hand makes adoption easier.
Fleshing out a strategic view of the company, the proposed software, and the metrics to prove that the software is impacting change, are critical for getting software approved and adopted.
- Yet the answer is rarely simple. A diversity of interests must be served in the company by the software.
- Listening to those who don’t support the change, engaging those who support you, and evaluating the responses to adapt are key skills you’ll need to succeed.
- If your software can fit the needs of the company and the people using it, you stand a chance to get it accepted.
Compensation management software involves executing and automating a compensation plan which touches many different parts of the company (salary, bonuses, long and short term incentives which get complex), so employees are paid accurately.
Regardless of the type of software you are choosing, these initial questions apply:
Question 1. Is this software a good fit for your company?
While a simple and broad question, the specific answers you find will help you frame your business case. What does a good fit really mean to your company is the question, and don’t assume anyone knows (or is as excited as you about) the answer.
To get that answer for compensation management, ask the following:
- What HRIS software (including Excel and Access) are you currently using to manage compensation?
- Will software solve the problem, and if so, how much training and support time is needed before the software is fully operational?
(Yes, that’s 3 questions in 1! Software questions always have dependencies with various people, departments, and budgets. If you have a software question, make sure to ask the right set of sub-questions to get the answer).
Typical Compensation Scenario
A healthcare company’s compensation budget is the big piece of operating expenses. But their compensation management system (currently many Excel spreadsheets run by many people hopefully communicating it all accurately) is not keeping up.
- Errors happen, maybe raises don’t happen, and the system is plagued with inefficiencies in the software, and in the data being entered.
- Perhaps they lose a nurse a year because compensation is that important, and to replace that nurse costs a year’s salary – let’s say $90,000.
While changing from Excel is going to take time – after all, we’re changing a long time productive habit – it may take 3-6 months to transition away to the new software. Old habits are hard to replace, and expect customization costs as well because it is a big transition.
Now if the healthcare company already uses compensation management software and has a good compensation plan and practice, that change could take around 90 days.
In this scenario, if we’re losing 2 nurses a year, replacing them costs more than upgrading the software, and it should prevent losing more in the upcoming years.
Question 2. What data and metrics will show the impact of the software to improve performance? How will you measure success?
- How will this new software improve compensation spending and employee retention?
- What specific business results, and metrics, will measure that improvement?
Evaluating Compensation Results Scenario
Compensation software streamlines the complex pay processes of company. So improving the efficiency of the compensation spend – for example, through actual cost savings of processing compensation plans and streamlining performance reviews – by even a few percentage points can be a tremendous benefit to a company.
- Measure success by compensation spending savings, as well as improving retention of key employees. A good compensation plan should also help acquisition, though it’s harder to make that business case than for retention in terms of compensation spending.
- One of the true rewards is retention. It is expensive to replace employees.
- Done correctly, compensation software enables the company to understand how to reward the right people the right pay for the right performance accurately.
Question 3. Will people use the software consistently?
Software adoptions include 2 points of view; avid users excited to embrace the change, and stoic users who would rather keep on doing what they know how to do.
Before training, get buy-in from various parts of your company, allies who’ll support the software, and focus your energy on helping those who will be difficult, or have technical difficulty. Plan for this!
It takes a consistent and friendly style to shift these people, and you will have to shift some people resisting along the way.
Because in the end, what a user does with the software is what matters; getting them to use it is the first challenge. Making them productive is next.
But in the beginning, the answer usually is no. We see it all the time in the compensation management software business. People don’t want to change; they will change over time, yet an initial “no” shouldn’t be a surprise.
Prepare a 3-9 Month Marathon and Don’t Sprint
One of the biggest mistakes people make in trying to get a company to embrace software is to realize it is a long road. In compensation management software for example, many companies miss the big picture impact, making decisions solely on saving the initial money. What they get is inflexible and unscalable.
When the software arrives, they find it can’t adapt to what they need. Costs go up, and suddenly that cheap solution costs more than the best software. Cost savings are good, but long term cost savings are key.
Often people come in with a list of features (many which they don’t understand), without understanding that it’s these 3 questions above you must begin with, before you get to the features of the software. Maybe it’s not logical, but it is the way the process often goes. Software is often as much about motivation initially, as functionality.
Be sure you focus on the business results, and the measures to validate those results, before you start jumping into the features of software. Because now you’ll know what you want the software to do, not trying to see if the features fit into your business scenario.
Most of all, make sure all the people in your company who will have to use this software, use it actively.
One of the key measures to a successful software adoption is usage, plain and simple. Make sure whatever you choose, that your people can use it effectively.