Five Steps You Should Consider Before Implementing a New ATS or CRM

Last week, I wrote about the fundamental questions you must answer before starting the change management process when it comes to switching ATS, CRM or HRIS systems.  Once you have those questions answered and you have the support of your organization’s executives, you are ready to start.

Now hold on Speed Racer, it’s not that easy.  I promise you. You have multiple players in various positions and locations. There are many moving parts – IT connectivity, integration with other systems, and experience.

Your goal as the Project Leader or Sponsor is to make sure you have the right people who will not only support you but also be a “champion of change and the new technology” throughout the entire implementation and launch process. Let us take a look at six key steps you will need to ensure the success of your project.  Keep in mind the steps below are very high level and will need to be explored in depth depending on the size of your organization.  Always remember to keep the result in mind as well as who you are doing this for and why.

To keep it easy, let us say that your company is a medium-sized logistics organization implementing a new Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Step1: Determine your “champions of change” for the new system.  The key to your success hinges upon this.l.  Why?  You can have your Executive Team support and the Board’s support, but in the end, they are not the people using the new system on an everyday basis like your Operational and Corporate Hiring Managers.  Corporate Hiring Managers would be those who generally have openings like Accounting, Finance, IT, Procurement, etc.  On the operations side, find General Managers, Directors of Operations, Transportation Directors who will assist you in converting the “naysayers” (more to come on this). In my experience, Office Managers were heavily involved in the process so I would include them as well.

Step 2: Determine the Primary and Secondary Project Players.  You have listed out your “Change Champions,” now it is time to come up with the team that will take the new technology for implementation.  Your project team should fall into two groups – Primary players who are accountable for a specific aspect of the application.  Secondary players are those people who help more behind the scenes.

Your primary users would be: Top recruiters who understand the process, are creative, and who are change champions, at least one hiring manager from each facility, IT Project Manager, and your IT Implementation Manager.  These are the players you will be relying on the most to ensure the success of your ATS implementation.  Each will play a vital role, and as the project manager, you will need to hold them accountable for deadlines.

Secondary Project Players are generally going to be other recruiters, Operational and Corporate hiring managers who are champions, but their role will be more on the testing side as different portals are complete in production (before going live).  Consider them as an extension of your Quality Assurance Team. Other secondary team members could be someone from marketing, creative and your copyright team is. Their responsibility would be working on the assets and copy for your career website and internal as well as external portals.

Secondary projects members need to be ready to move up to a primary spot especially when what they are working on are front and center depending on where you are in your project plan.

Step 3: Communicate progress to all stakeholders once implementation begins.  Possible communications could be through Town Hall events, e-blasts,  weekly or monthly meetings. Knowing something creates comfort whether the news is good or bad. The more you communicate with your key stakeholders about where you are in the implementation process, the quicker you build trust.  Building rapport will reduce the amount of “naysayers” when it comes time to go live.

Step 4: Conduct user testing with specific stakeholders throughout the implementation including hiring managers and those candidates who recently joined the company.  You may ask why we should consider them? Well,  new hires understand the current candidate experience.  They will not only be open and upfront about how different the apply process is, but also make suggestions that you didn’t think about. the

Step 5: Develop training with the end user’s involvement.  Recruiting and Learning teams tend to use their jargon.  Not a good idea. Get your champions involved in the storyboarding and let your Learning & Development group make it pretty. Speak in your stakeholder’s language that they are accustomed to hearing that will reduce the amount of confusion. Hold multiple training opportunities at least twice a day to accommodate employees in a different time zone. Be sure to record your sessions and then post the best session on your internal resource page. You may also want to deliver training to champion’s first, so they can be your advocate when the resisters begin pushing back.

Using these five steps will help get you started as you build out your implementation plan.  How you and your team implement a new system are so important.  Implementations always have high visibility at all levels.  Having a detailed project plan will guarantee your success.

Let me know if you would add anything to this list.  Contact me if you would like a copy of implementation plans I have used in the past.


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