In a way, the relationship between user adoption and HRMS success is self-evident. Consider the reverse situation: if users aren’t using the system, is it a success or a failure? An unused HRMS is probably stuck forever in a state of negative ROI so, in this sense, user adoption is THE success factor of HRMS implementation.

Yet, really, it’s a success indicator, and what it indicates is that your choice of HRMS and the management of its implementation was done right…

The importance of user adoption

When we’re talking about users, it’s tempting to think about the largest group: employees. However, there are distinct user categories and each has its own priorities for the new system. Managers will be using the system for a number of routine (and frequent) tasks, such as workforce scheduling and managing leave and absences. The C-suite are looking for more strategic benefits, such as those accruing from HR analytics functionality. And HR, of course, will have its own specialist input and expectations.

It’s clear that users – and user adoption of your HRMS – represent all parts of an organization and that if even one user group is unenthusiastic, there will be an impact on ROI.

Why user adoption improves implementation success

In order to satisfy all user groups, your selection and implementation processes must address each group’s priority requirements for the HRMS. One way to look at the benefits of widespread user adoption is to list some of the things you have to successfully tackle in order to achieve it.

An easy to use system – on a daily basis, the user experience is probably the biggest determinant of use. If it’s engaging, straightforward, and relatively easy to learn, people are more likely to use it.

Easy access – modern flexible working means even the workforces of small or medium-sized businesses can vary wildly in working hours and location. For an HRMS to be genuinely useful to (and to be used by) users the system should be accessible by mobile, the clichéd anytime, anywhere, anywhen.

User training – people use things they are familiar with, and a focused user training program is how you ensure that users have that familiarity and are ready to access the HRMS from day one.

Excellent self-service options – as stated above, you incentivize usage by providing what each user group wants and needs. Each user group having direct access to system features that automate, streamline or otherwise speed up some aspect of their HR experience is what drives user adoption.

HR with time on its hands – well, not exactly time on their hands, but… a sign and benefit of widespread user adoption is that HR resources are freed up by the automation of routine people processes. Given that HRIS research shows the top reason for implementing an HRMS is to improve efficiency, it makes sense that freeing up your HR department’s time is a big win. This time regained either results in cost savings or is reinvested in other priority HR activities.

Contributed by Dave Foxall, freelance writer and editor