Payroll Blog

3 Ways to Guarantee a Successful Payroll & HR Implementation

Payroll and HR implementation system projects can be incredibly stressful, and it can also be very costly. In fact, if the implementation project is mismanaged, the result could be a complete failure.

In this short article, we will be looking at what we think are the three most important aspects a business should be looking at when a payroll implementation project is being considered.

Being a company that specialises in recruiting payroll & HR implementation professionals, we find ourselves discussing this subject with a wide variety of clients on a regular basis. We recruit a huge number of specialist consultants to manage payroll and HR implementation projects throughout the UK, and their work involves a huge variety of different systems. With this in mind, the following three steps should help keep your implementation project running smoothly; put you in a position to control all related costs effectively; and help you to meet all of your project milestones.

1. Choose the most suitable Payroll or HR software and ensure it fits within your budget.

Many businesses end up in a position where they rely too heavily on customization. What you need to remember is the fact that customization can be extremely costly. Heavily customised systems are typically difficult to manage, and you will almost certainly experience some difficulties when your system goes live. Plus customisation costs can spiral very quickly with software providers charging for configuration and consultancy work by the hour.
Ideally, you should always opt for a practical and straightforward system that has been designed to work with industry standards. People who sell payroll, HR software can be very convincing when they are trying to tell you what you need. It is, therefore, important you base your decisions entirely on the sort of functionality which your business requires. Set yourself up with a plan that dictates the essential requirements your system will need to deliver for it to be effective. Does this new system perform these or will it require significant customisation? Maybe it offers everything as well as some features which you do not need – do you want to pay for functionality that will not be utilised?

With a payroll and HR implementation project, you cannot rule out the need for some degree of customization, so this is something which you should discuss right from the outset (and budget for). As a business, you need all related costs to be controlled, and a reputable payroll & HR software vendor should not only be able to guide you through the process, but they should also be able to deliver a system that meets your needs and remain within your budget.

Understanding the costs involved is essential. There will be other expenses that perhaps you haven’t considered too such as for training one or more of your employees on how to use the system; temporary staffing costs while your existing team assist with the implementation (parallel running, user acceptance testing, etc.). There will likely also be both maintenance costs and future system upgrade costs to consider too.

Here are some questions to consider asking when it comes to your payroll and HR implementation:

  • Are the vendor and the platform perceived in a positive way in this market?
  • How long has the vendor been servicing clients and how long has the platform been on the market for?
  • Is the platform known to be a very stable one?
  • Are both the vendor and the platform HMRC approved?
  • Who is going to the do the implementation? The Software Company, in-house IT, Payroll/HR Manager, external consultant?
  • Does the system have the capability to cope with future growth / acquisition plans / changes in legislation?
  • Will the system “speak” to other systems already in place?

2. Plan, Plan, Plan for Total Success

Business directors often make the mistake of viewing payroll and HR software systems in the same way they view any IT system. Based on our expertise and our extensive experience in this field, we can assure you that a payroll and HR system is not just another IT system. Instead, it is an integral and vital part of your business.

Poor implementation can have an extremely negative impact on the overall success of your business. With this in mind, implementing the right software should be seen as being a business critical project concerning improved efficiency, reliability and compliance.

The overall payroll and HR implementation project should be broken down into different stages and targets. In other words, the plan should define set goals which will require the input of all members of the implementation team. If any attempt is made to try and implement too much of a particular system too soon, it is likely to cause large amounts of stress amongst implementation team members, and when this happens, can result in project failure or delays to the process.

If a payroll and HR implementation project does not fall into your field of expertise, you shouldn’t be afraid to seek professional assistance. A professional payroll & HR software consultant can help you to gain a thorough understanding of a variety of systems; they can quickly identify potential pitfalls; they can spot opportunities which you may otherwise have overlooked, and in the end, they can leave you with an excellent and robust system. If you believe you could do with some professional assistance, you can contact us here at JGA Recruitment, and we will do everything in our power to help.

Going LIVE is the final goal, and one which you will no doubt be looking forward to, but you need to be realistic about this. Before you set a specific go-live date, you need to consider the resources you have available, bearing in mind that some of your team members may also have other duties which are not part of the implementation. Likewise, some of your personnel may also have to receive training before the system is fired up.

3. Embrace and Manage Change Correctly

The implementation process should actively involve all personnel who are going to be working with the system once it becomes operational. Those in key positions must be prepared and ready to take ownership of the processes when the go-live date arrives. In short, the entire implementation process should be a hands-on experience.

It is also important to remember that change does not only involve personnel. Change needs to be managed in other areas as well, and this can be achieved by having a thorough understanding of your business processes, and by identifying changes which may be required in order to be compatible with the new system.

The easiest way to ensure a smooth transition is by making sure that employees have received adequate training, and by promoting change in a positive way. Change is often difficult because it forces people out of their comfort zone, but if promoted in a positive way, and if your team members are prepared for the changes that are going to affect their routines, user acceptance shouldn’t be a big issue when the go-live date arrives.

You should also be actively engaged in the process, and so should other employees who are in upper management positions. If this happens, it tends to have a knock-on effect, and it encourages the project team to engage even more.

Everything you have read in this article is a reflection of my thoughts and opinions, but this is based heavily on the sort of feedback we get from our clients almost daily.

If you are planning on undertaking a new implementation project and believe you may need specialist consultants to help on a contract basis, then please get in touch ([email protected] / 01727 800 377) as whatever solution you decide upon, we will have candidates with relevant experience available to help ensure your project starts and ends in the right way.

Do you have any implementation advice, horror stories or recommendations?
Please like, share and comment and let the world know about them!


This article was written by Nick Day, Managing Director of JGA Recruitment – the leading Payroll, HR & Reward Recruitment Specialists.

If you are looking for expert talent in the fields of Payroll, HR or Reward, then please reach out for a 15 minute ignition call and I would be delighted to discuss how we can help.
Nick Day
Managing Director
James Gray Associates Ltd
Payroll, HR & Reward Specialist Recruiters
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01727 800 37701727

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