System Implementation on the Horizon? Ask Away.

Jessica Lee Change, HR Tech, Jessica Lee, Trench HR

Let me just say this: I am stressed out. I am not even going to lie about it. 2011 has come like a hurricane. There’s my regular recruiting load, 2010 year end stuff, special projects like a Jobvite implementation… cumulatively, it’s what keeps me up at night. Who likes a complainer though?!

Jobvite however? I am more than excited about. It will be a lot of work. And I have moments of panic about it all. But I’m a fan of the technology. And I have been speaking praises of the product for months now – way before I thought we’d even be doing an implementation as I was just going off of the potential, particularly for organizations who are serious about weaving social media into their recruiting practices (read: you would hope, everyone… I mean, hello? Mark Zuckerberg as Time’s person of the year, Goldman Sachs investing $50m into Facebook!).

G-080409-hlt-nervous-breakdown-6p.grid-6x2 But… I am also a little anxious as this is my first time leading an implementation or system conversion. Leading… meaning from getting the contract reviewed and signed to making sure the checks are getting cut to coordinating across our global HR and IT teams to make this all happen to working with our old system provider to get data primed for importing into Jobvite to… wait. I’ll stop there. Even talking it through like this is nerve grinding. And granted we’re a smaller organization, but it’s still mostly just me. Forget implementation teams I’ve been on in the past. That was warm up stuff. I’m the one responsible for making this happen this time.

As we work towards implementation though, I’ve realized that while I have a good head on my shoulders, I’ve also felt a little lost on some of what I’m doing. No one has ever told me or shared how you’re “supposed” to go about doing an implementation. So, allow me to share with you.  And my greatest insights as of right now? Simply to ask a boatload of questions. I’m not sure I was asked all the questions I should have been asked as we were exploring an implementation – and I’m not sure I asked all the right questions I should have asked of the vendor, and internally at my company. So if I could rewind just a bit, what we really should have hammered out and talked about that we kinda, sorta skipped?

  • Who are the key decision makers for deciding to go with Jobvite? What role does IT, legal and finance have in selecting a product?  And what will the ultimate decision making/approval process look like?  Larger organizations may take on a very structured, project management approach with a project champion, change management consultants, dedicated HR tech pros, etc. You might have very clear organizational guidelines on how new technology is evaluated and vetted. But if you don’t – like me – spend a quick minute thinking through who truly needs to be involved in evaluations and who the decision makers are, and the timing as well… hello, budget implications!
  • What kind of assistance is needed to make the case for implementation? Are there tools & data beyond a demo site that will be necessary to present the case? I asked for PowerPoint decks to steal from, references and datapoints to make my case to my leadership in addition to a demo site – and as a potential customer, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask too if it’s not offered up. The vendor has as much to gain as you do in getting you as a new customer – so make them work for you to help make the case for an implementation.
  • Are we going to be changing any policies, processes or modifying workflow as a result of the implementation? Who is going to shepherd process/policy re-engineering needs? Food for thought. Because change is never easy to address. So know what you’re getting into and think ahead about whether there’s a need for change, or if this is opportunity to make some changes.
  • How will we be communicating the system change? It’s a question that really is geared towards multiple audiences – your job seeker community, your HR/recruiting teams, your hiring managers, your non-HR leadership who may be part of approval chains, your IT teams, your employee population. An ATS conversion impacts more folks than you think… and if someone else can help with drafting the communication… or if you can even ask yourself questions to get you thinking about who to communicate with about what and when… then you’re ahead of me.
  • What are the training needs? I’m not even sure I know just yet – luckily we’re not unleashing Jobvite onto hiring managers so the training needs should be minimized… but I’m not throwing videos and web tutorials alone at my colleagues… I’m gonna need something more. But do I go and do a roadshow myself? What is my plan?

Are these rookie considerations? Maybe… but heck. This is a learning experience for me, so let me let you learn alongside with me. And trust that I will be keeping y’all posted along the way!

Happy New Year!