Nowadays, many companies and international groups feel the need to be able to monitor clear and relevant HR indicators on a daily basis. Nothing more essential for organizations to have an accurate vision of their workforce, their payroll, the distribution of their contracts, age, seniority, to be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their wishes for development, etc. This necessity often requires the implementation of an international HR information system, adapted to the corporate culture of each country, and this is where the first challenge lies! To build, share and bring to life a common language of HR data that will be used, updated by the HR function, managers and sometimes even all employees in the organization. Once this first objective has been achieved, the HRIS will be the basis for the deployment of (totally or partially) standardized business processes, such as salary reviews, annual interviews or talent management.
This necessity often requires the implementation of an international HR information system, adapted to the corporate culture of each country, and this is where the first challenge lies! To build, share and bring to life a common language of HR data that will be used, updated by the HR function, managers and sometimes even all employees in the organization. Once this first objective has been achieved, the HRIS will be the basis for the deployment of (totally or partially) standardized business processes, such as salary reviews, annual interviews or talent management.
Strategic Approach to Deploying a Comprehensive HRIS
An international HRIS brings many benefits to a global organization. In addition to improving communication, it can speed up decision-making and provide real-time information to managers or help create a transnational mindset throughout the company. But the system only delivers its full potential if the organization is clear from the outset about exactly what it wants and can achieve.
1) The company needs to understand its situation
Organizations enter the path of international human resources management at different stages of development and preparation. For example, the company may have established processes in independent business centres but be aware of the need for a new global HR system, or it may be expanding into new territories and need a more comprehensive solution to support it. Finally, it may have gone through a merger or acquisition and find itself in an international HR environment.
2) Identify your needs
HR activities are divided into three different areas: operations (payroll, absences, sickness), capacity development (talent management, succession planning) and business development such as strategic directions.
It is essential for companies to ask themselves certain questions in order to identify their HRIS needs.
How to have a single international, regional and local database?
How to improve the coherence of HR processes in the company?
How to have a better view of talent? If so, what data is needed to support decision making?
How to transfer part of the transactional exchanges of processes?
How to enable HR, managers, employees to manage their own data?
How could the solution enable me to follow the company’s strategic plans?
How can I manage rapid expansion?
3) Is the company ready for a global HRIS?
It is also important to think about the business environment and the underlying factors that influence the speed and style of the brand new system to be implemented.
Several key points to consider include :
Corporate culture: Are employees ready for change and the implementation of a new system?
The skills and reputation of the HR team: Do they have the credibility and skills to support the project?
Technical Compatibility: Will the overall HR Information System be consistent with the way the company operates on a large scale?
Is the existing information (employees, jobs, skills, objectives…) sufficient to meet the objectives of the project?
Winning hearts and minds
While technological progress is essential for the deployment of a comprehensive HRIS, it is not solely responsible for its eventual success internally. The best system will not be able to deliver the expected result if the people who use it are not stakeholders. With a consultative approach, the project will help to win over users. The key to success is to plan the actions in advance, to know how to achieve this goal.
1) Identifying the obstacles and engaging the international community
In large organizations, there can be many interests in maintaining the status quo. At the level of HR managers, they may perceive a centralized system as a tool to reduce their influence and status. As for managers, who are often overburdened, they may feel that HR is still delegating new responsibilities to them. Companies that already have a strong formal and informal culture between departments, creating networks, will be less affected by the obstacles to change than organizations with less well developed communication processes. In order to implement an international HR system, it is necessary to involve all the company’s HR players from the outset, not only for deployment, but also for design. Ideally, project teams or working groups should be created that are representative of the entire company. Even when the pressure is high, it is therefore important to offer a certain level of participation to those involved.
2) Involve all employees
The great difficulty here is to engage all the teams at an early stage and above all to win their support. To do so, it is a matter of ensuring that all players have a clear vision of the objectives and benefits of the new system. The focus should not be solely on cost savings. It is also necessary to explain how an international HR Information System will provide managers with better data, make their lives easier, and free up their time to concentrate on more strategic tasks. Sometimes, something as simple as a company organization chart will help them feel more involved. For others, standardizing and automating key processes will reduce administrative costs and provide access to as many important and up-to-date management reports as possible. Involve the HR team as broadly as possible in the purchasing process. Ask potential suppliers to organize demonstrations, allowing HR team members to get a real idea of what a global HR tool can offer.
Involve stakeholders in key process design workshops. This will create early engagement and will also help ensure that the resulting IS meets all needs.
- Identify project leaders.
- Ask for volunteers to help steer the system in their departments or regions.
- Get them to act as “ambassadors” for the project throughout the company.
- Look for visible benefits quickly. Determine the parts of the project, or areas of the company, where getting feedback from the system will be best and fastest.
- Showing early success will help to maintain momentum and keep interest and excitement levels high.