You have operations in multiple countries with multiple subsidiaries serving a global client base and you are starting an initiative of implementing a global HR system such as Oracle Cloud HCM.
What are some of the misconceptions people have when embarking upon such a journey?
Having just implemented Oracle Cloud for our own global HR team, I wanted to share a few misconceptions and otherwise suggested approaches.
5 Misconceptions about Global HR Implementation
Step 1: Localization is the Key
About a decade ago, discussion around the languages along with currency differences was one of the centerpieces of system design. This is no longer the case. Most solutions have a personalization layer which allows the contents to be visible in the local language and keep track for financial data such as salary in local currencies as well as the reporting currency. Attention, instead, must be paid to the local interests and weaving them into a comprehensive HR initiative.
For example, having an on the spot “touchdown” award theme may leave folks in Asia and other countries a bit confused.
Step 2: Global Solutions are the Same, just Bigger
This is probably the greatest misconception which has its roots in the assumption that it is the same business. Global HR solutions are getting more integrated with other enterprise systems both within the 4 walls of the organization and outside. Consider for example the integration with the medical benefits provider. Due to complexity of regulations these integration points may be very different and in some cases standard integration points or open API may not even exist. There may also significant process differences.
Consider for example the differences in handling earned leaves, floating holidays, and absences in general.
Step 3: Processes can be Standardized
This misconception almost borders deception. While at 30,000 feet level all geographies may appear to have similar processes in the areas of Recruit, Retain, Retrain and Retrench, at a deeper level they couldn’t be more different. For example, the motivational levers and processes around these levers for retaining an employee may be totally different in India compared to the US. Similarly, the “hire/fire” policies that are prevalent in US employment contracts takes on a totally different meaning when it comes to Europe where it may take up to a year to terminate an employee. Also, rules around workflows and delegation of authority can have significant variations around the approval workflows.
Ignoring process variations invariably results in system redesign.
Step 4: It's all about the Culture
While addressing the company’s cultural needs are important, it is equally important to balance cultural and regulatory needs. People in emerging markets such as India tend to be more mobile with often evolving regulatory environments.
Leadership needs to adapt their management style and gain a good understanding of the regulations for each geographical location and design suitable workflows within the system.
Step 5: Technology is the Panacea
You have involved all the key stakeholders in designing and implementing the system and are now thinking that people will be eager to use the system to keep the personal information such as emergency contacts, etc. up to date. Surprise! You see very low user adoption. The key to success is to keep the users excited about the system throughout the implementation using Organizational Change Management strategies and approaches.
Training is the key component in adoption along with pulling some motivational levers such as prizes for being the top 100 users!
The reason we succeeded in our internal implementation and help many of our clients succeed is because we think and act differently when it comes to implementing global systems. A previous blog “Can Project Management Be Crowd Sourced” provides a perspective on how Emtec deploys its ATMOS Project Management Automation platform for multi-pillar global implementations. While standardization of process is important; equally important is the understanding of local cultural and regulatory environments and leveraging the best practices and personalization functionality built into today’s modern systems.
This is the key to achieving the project’s Return On Investment.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions around best practices and what to consider when starting a Global HR / HCM implementations or check out our blog "Top Questions to ask when evaluating your HR System".