The best, most advanced, cutting-edge technology is literally useless if nobody uses it.

Often, and for understandable reasons, an HR automation project can focus too much on the technical issues and fail to persuade employees of the new system’s value with a predictable impact on your return on investment.

The following three steps should ensure that you keep the end users in mind when selecting and implementing your new HRMS.

 1) Emphasize useful features

The system’s features are only part of the story, but an essential part. Tempting as it can be to buy the ‘sexiest’ system that does everything and more, better to focus on a few core features that offer some real practical value, such as time off requests, online paychecks, and control over personal data.

Add to this the fact that democratization of data is all about giving people access to information and the fundamental data your employees need access to (and control of) is their own. Giving your people self-service access to the information the system holds about them is effectively devolving responsibility for the accuracy of that information to the people closest to it; and therefore the people best-suited to ensure its accuracy.

Accurate personal data is the bedrock of your HR database and results in fewer errors or faulty transactions – boosting the system’s credibility with users.

 2) Make it accessible

There are two issues here: ease of access to the system, and ease of use once there.

A fundamental boost to accessibility is to choose an HRMS that is mobile-friendly, preferably with a downloadable app for employee and manager self-service functions. Anytime/anywhere access means that use is at the user’s convenience which is a significant plus point when you’re attempting to sell employees on new technology. Even better is an app which can used when offline (signal coverage cannot be guaranteed no matter how ‘connected’ the world we live in) and then auto-synchronizes when the connection is resumed.

The second accessibility issue is the user experience. Regardless of what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, the average user wants to see something familiar and straightforward on-screen. The more intuitive the interface, the less training is required and the more comfortable the user is. And a comfortable user is a frequent user.

3) Incentivize

There are numerous challenges to driving up user adoption and maybe the most significant is not so much what the system does but how you sell it…

First, if you want people to adopt a new way of doing something, remove the old way. For example, if they’re used to calling the HR helpline with queries that the system can now answer, stop answering those callers and direct them to the HR portal instead. Do it nicely, supportively, but do it.

Wherever possible, give the users control over their HRMS experience. For example, many systems allow users to customize what they see on-screen. Spending a little time customizing a personal dashboard results in better engagement with the system, and with the general concept of automated HR services.

Finally, think about your marketing. As with any ‘new product’ having a distinctive brand can improve recognition and boost take up. Consider a logo for your new HRMS, a color scheme, a slogan or tagline, maybe even promotional merchandising. When someone drinks their morning from an HRMS mug, you’re raising awareness with every gulp.