Global HCM Transformations in large companies

Over the course of the past 20 years, we have seen a number of global transformation projects.  Some went well, some not so much.  Here are a few tips we picked up along the way and tips we use to help guide our clients to be successful in their transformation.

Understand the culture

Culture is incredibly important in any change.  The team that proceeds with the transformation may have an executive order to complete their mission but that doesn’t mean that the rest of the business lines will just fall into place.  Many implementations and transformations forget about this and fail to meet the needs of all the business lines and groups in different countries.

Strive to know the culture of the people you are transforming. Does the transformation fit their culture?

Remember the project team and the ongoing business team have separate functions

After the project is live, who will be the "run" team?  Are they the same?  If so, will the pains of the transformation follow the team?  During the transformation, hard choices need to be made.  The transformation team may have some lingering issues (professionally) if those decisions were made and not everyone was happy.  There is still work to do after the "we are live!" email goes out.  The team that continues on may have some wounds to tend, but they will be expected to carry on and sometimes rehash decisions made.  The run team needs to move on (fairly quickly) to the business of running the system and ensuring the processes are continuing efficiently, making adjustments where needed.

The project team will have a target on their back throughout the project.  What is your plan to help the project team rise above and become reinvigorated after the go live?

Allow consultants to help through the organizational change management

This may sound counter intuitive, but it is sometimes easier for a third-party consultant to create, manage, and execute the change process.  An internal employee will be biased to make everyone happy for fear of losing their position or receiving a bad review. Consultants can sometimes have the critical conversations necessary to ensure the transformation, without fear of reprisal later.

The more you can assure your internal employees that they don’t need to fear reprisal after the "go live," the more they can be effective during the project.

Stick with the original mission and requirements and only change if absolutely necessary

Something is always lost or forgotten from the time you select the system and Systems Integrator to the "we are live" email.  We often advise our clients to have a monthly (or more often) review of the original requirements and mission.  This helps to keep everyone on the same path and correct some decisions, if necessary.  Additionally, if things have changed since the initial mission, then it may be necessary to rewrite the original requirements.  Either way is fine, as long as it is a collective decision to make the changes or correction.  There should also be a process to follow to manage the scope and change process to reduce the number of surprises along the way.

Constant communication (good news and bad) with the project team, stakeholders, and business lines will help to make sure your global transformation is a success.

It will be harder than you think

We all see the advertising, Twitter feeds, and LinkedIn articles that profess how awesome the projects and the results were.  I have told clients some things are easy and some things aren't – but they are still work.  The easy part is that the process is known, and you are not creating things from scratch….the hard part is the work itself and the sheer volume of it.  Global transformation projects are large, complex, and challenging.  Working through them is often a very rewarding project, but there is a significant amount of work that is sometimes underestimated.

Global transformations can create a wealth of opportunities for growth and success.  These projects are a great challenge for everyone involved.  Internal employees and contractors see the challenges differently, and you can use the different viewpoints for the good of the project and the company.