Following on from my introduction to this blog series we can now move onto project initiation.

HR functions face constant challenges to provide effective value add solutions for the business.  If you are reading this blog you have more than likely started on the road to finding a new HR solution.  This journey starts for many reasons, not least of which is the frustrating reality of many HR teams, such as a lack of effective systems (in some cases Excel is your HR system), poor or no systems access for employees, poor data quality and extensive manual interventions.  You may have found that throwing people at the problem has not fixed it.


Key to successfully achieving your goal is to have on board a strong Project Sponsor and a Vision of what you wish to achieve.  For HR teams the Project Sponsor will normally be the HR Director, however your Project Sponsor could be any senior manager with a vested interest in on time, good quality data and providing value add for the business.  It helps a lot if they also have budget!!!

The Vision for the project may just be a simple statement of intent or could be linked to the overall strategy of the business.  The whole HR team may have a hand in producing a statement which reflects the intent of the team and the provision of services across the business.  Remember to keep the vision statement short and sweet and ensure your Project Sponsor is happy with it.

Project Initiation

In larger enterprises, project initiation is a formal process which assesses the benefits, return on investment (ROI), risks, assumptions, resourcing requirements etc for a project before assigning precious business resources.  Basically providing approval for the project to proceed.  This is true even if your intent is to have a cloud HR solution as you will need internal resources to define, assess and implement the new system (think requirements gathering, security assessments and links to active directory).

Smaller enterprises may be able to kick off projects more informally but at some point someone, normally someone senior in your organisation, will challenge you.  They will ask for information on the return on investment, the value add and a clear strategic reason for the project.

So, get your ducks in a row.  Do the research and have some figures to back up the Vision statement as you may be asked to complete a PID (project initiation document).

The following are a few examples to get you started.  The following metrics can all be gathered internally.

  • Cost of current HR solutions
  • Number of HR IT solutions being used (sometimes you will be surprised by the quantity of ‘HR’ solutions currently in use in your own business)
  • Number of processes owned by HR
  • Number of resource per role (by HR process)
  • Working hours per manual processes
  • Time to create and issue reports
  • Time lag on HR data
  • Impact of manual processes outside of the HR function
  • Activities not currently supported by the HR team

You may also need to consider capturing the consequences of having poor or no HRIS on the following areas.

  • Recruitment
  • Employer brand
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Line management efficiency
  • Compliance
  • Learning
  • Performance
  • Statutory reporting

Finally, you may need to gather benchmark data to assess how your business compares to other businesses in terms of

  • HR per employee ratio
  • Recruitment statistics
  • Retention and cost of hire figures
  • Analysis of your competitors – their HR solutions and reputation
  • Employer brand impact on recruitment
  • HRIS solution costs (implementation and recurring fees)

The list goes on!  For project initiation it is best to be prepared as the HR function is like all other support functions.  HR is a cost centre and has to have a clear ask, outline of costs and defined benefits in order to get business support and funding.

Next up, more on project initiation before we move to requirements gathering and definition.

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