As the ink dries on the contract, buyers must tackle the implementation of HRO and decide on what the retained HR organization will look like after transformation.
Much editorial focus has been spent on building the outsourcing strategy, selecting the right provider, structuring a deal, performing due diligence, or evaluating price. Anyone who has been through the HRO process understands that it demands a significant amount of time, resources, dollars, energy, and political capital to simply “close the deal.” As the market matures, a more recent focus has been on governance—defining how to most effectively structure the deal and the client-provider relationship.
But what really happens after you sign a contract? It is here that the real work begins, and there is more to it than just governance.
THE KEY IMPLEMENTATION HEAD-UP
Throughout implementation, you face opportunities to provide input and to make critical decisions. Not taking them seriously can have a direct impact on the quality and acceptance of the end result. Consider:
• Key deliverables sign-off. Deliverables sign-off should be considered a contractual agreement. Take the time to establish a process, define a small group of empowered reviewers, and understand the deliverable contents before assuming you’ll have time to change your mind without consequence later.
• User acceptance testing. There are few opportunities to test the portal and service center. Make sure to leave plenty of time to adequately evaluate the future “face” to your employees.
• Portal strategy. Keep your broader enterprise portal strategy in mind as you develop your HRO self-service and portal plan. A key aspect of usability from the perspective of your employees will be the degree of integration ranging from single sign-on to look and feel.
• Post go-live stabilization. Even the smoothest of implementations will have a burn-in period. Make sure that both you and your provider have planned for this from a timeline and resource perspective, particularly if you have sequential go-lives planned.
• The people dimension of outsourcing. Managing the people aspect of an HRO implementation means helping the organization to get “ready, willing, and able” to make the changes required for an effective transition. Focus on all change levers, including change readiness; stakeholder alignment; communications and engagement; culture; HR programs; end-user education; organization design; and capability transfer.
• Retained HR organization design and transition. This is more than just deciding “who” and “what” stays. It’s about defining the structure, competencies, and transition strategies to enable the delivery of more effective, efficient HR services.
Your HRO implementation is an event, but your business does not stand still. Consequently, your implementation needs to support the strategy of the broader organization, the execution of HR objectives, and the continuation of quality services. Here are some thoughts on three specific strategies:
• Mergers & acquisition and global expansion. Establish flexibility and scale in the implementation plan to support the priorities of the business.
• HR transformation. Take the time to define the overall HR service delivery model to determine how HRO can enable a broader HR transformation. Do not lose sight of the broader transformation agenda.
• Talent management. Use your implementation to access better data about your critical workforce segments to more effectively develop, deploy, and connect your workforce.
DURING THE IMPLEMENTATION
Much of today’s writing on HR BPO focuses on the relationship with providers during the selection process and after the implementation has gone live. From our experience, it is during implementation where the foundation for the long-term relationship is established.
• Accountability is a two-way street. Expect your provider to hold you accountable for the commitments you make, both informally and contractually. The relationship works most effectively when treated like a partnership.
• What to expect and not expect. Implementation is a shared responsibility with the provider. Don’t expect the vendor to do it all for you.
When considering HR BPO, there is only one certainty: it takes a lot of work, and your provider is not going to do it all. This column’s objective is to help your efforts in developing a broader perspective, and we look forward to sharing our experience in effectively transforming HR beyond HRO.