Remote HR tech Implementation – Stories from #Lockdown times!
June 16, 2020
By Ritu Bhardwaj
About two decades ago, when I saw my first HR Tech implementation (yep I did see the monolithic on-prem systems in action 😉 ), our program manager shared that tech implementations at large were nothing less than getting a full blown orchestra to collaborate and create a symphony. Everyone needs to be in sync, playing on the tunes of the master and if anyone slips a single note the song goes for a toss. And if we look at it, for a long time this is how we have approached HR Tech or any tech implementation. The implementing teams plan every single element of a solution and often operate out of a customer’s location to ensure that the go live happens without glitches.
Now, in such a scenario, when in March, the government of India announced a nation-wide lockdown, it was an unprecedented situation to be in. Not just for us, but also for our 70+ transitioning customers who had to manage their people plans during a pandemic AND go through a major overhaul due to impending HR tech implementations in process. But thanks to the strong belief of our customers in the power of digital, our teams and the intuitiveness of our products – WE MADE IT HAPPEN!
Between a period of 15 March- 1 June 2020, our teams deployed 158 modules in over 70+ organizations – Virtually!
And here’s how we did it!
The Solid Plan: Remember that musical notes file that everyone in the orchestra refers to? It has an important role to play. And we understood it more as we created a solid project charter, relevant for the new way of working – which acted as own our book of musical notes. The plan included two major aspects:
Preparing for the worst: As a team we, went to the drawing board and identified the roadblocks that could pull us down and what we need to do in order to mitigate these risks.
Bringing Customer-Wise Intuitiveness: Depending on various factors –including whether a customer was in essential services or was deeply tied up in responding to the pandemic etc. – Individual project plans were tailor-made and aligned to meet their new realities. This step not just helped the customers, but also helped us in accelerating the implementation cycles in more than 50% projects.
Agility in Execution: Once the plan was agreed upon, we agreed on two ground rules.
#1 we will not miss any timeline
#2 We will be nimble and agile enough to switch gears if need comes.
For instance, for many of our customers, halfway through the implementation priorities of which modules to go live changed. The need was to get modules like Payroll, performance, learning in place first, so that their business could run as usual. We collaborated and worked closely with the customers to do so. Few things that really helped:
Agile project plan – we worked in sprints
Constant connect with the customers
Realtime visibility on what is happening to all project stakeholders
Managing change the new way! – In any tech implementation change management is a make or break stage. But in the new normal it was imperative to align the change management activities in a manner that they create the required impact. We did that by combining the usual methods (of connecting with user groups) with smarter methods – where we used our chatbot Jinie to educate and nudge people to perform the right actions at right time!
What was the result?
We went live in many of our customers on or before our go-live dates. At Kinara Capital we went live with 8 modules in flat 75 days! Sounds fast?
At Tata Digital we went live with our performance management system in 15 days, and at Fedbank Financial Services we went live in 10 days with our PeopleStrong Learning!
AEON Credit Service India (a subsidiary of ÆON Group, consisting of about 300 Subsidiary Companies with a focus on Retail Business and loans on consumer durables) saw 8 modules across employee’s life cycle go live through a completely virtually led implementation in less than 2 months. This is what Mayanka Batra, CHRO, Aeon Credit Service India had to say!
While the myths around HR tech implementation are many, our teams at PeopleStrong are focussed on delighting our customers and breaking these myths one after the other. It has been such an amazing journey with many more war stories to talk about. Do keep watching the space as we bring more to you!