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24 January 2013

So You Have A New HR System, What Now?


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


HR transformation Technology


Acquiring a new HR system is a positive step for any company.  Recording, monitoring and analysing your employee data will help to achieve greater efficiencies and potential cost reduction. Once you have your new system installed and ready to go, you will need to ensure that the data added to the system is correctly recorded, and maintained to ensure data accuracy.

Adding Data To A New HR System

Many businesses will already have their employee data recorded in some form or another, whether this is in spreadsheets or in a system used previously. Transferring this data to the new HR database can be done in one of two ways, each has it’s pros and cons:

#1 Importing data from spreadsheets or previous system

This approach is great in terms of how quickly it can be done. However, one consideration that should be made is how accurate and ‘clean’ the data is that you are importing?  Implementing a new HR system is an opportunity to carry out data cleansing. Importing existing data into a new system, without checking it for inaccuracies, will potentially result in a new system with ‘unclean’ data.  This can (and usually does) result in certain processes within the database running incorrectly or not at all.  For example:

If you have imported records that do not have a correct start date attached to them, the ‘Employee Service’ field will not be able to calculate how long the employee has been with the company.

Connected Wires At Ciphr we regularly import data for clients, both from spreadsheets and previous HR systems.  We have a data cleansing process that allows us to ensure that the information our clients import is as clean as possible before being transferred into our system.
Our Service Desk calculates that up to 25% of calls made to them are due to data being incorrectly entered into the system (or not entered at all).  Understanding the importance of how data can affect the way in which a system works, in all areas, is key to a successful implementation and ongoing accuracy of that data.

#2 Manual data entry

This method obviously takes more time than importing the data, however, this is a very effective way to cleanse the employee records and ensure the accuracy of the information added.  One key element to this approach is knowledge of the system, allowing you to ensure all information required is entered, and entered in the correct areas.

The HR representatives that will be responsible for entering the data should have attended the relevant training course prior to starting the data transfer.  This means the business will have the beginnings of ‘champions’ for the HR system.

Assign A System Supervisor

champion Assigning a system supervisor is not specific to an HR system.  A system supervisor will, by default, have overall access to the system, tasks such as adding new users, running certain end of year processes and assigning rights to users as part of this role.
By assigning certain important duties to one person, you have a direct line of communication to that person. The system supervisor approach is also very helpful for auditing purposes.  For example, you know that new users can only be added by a particular user. If you need to query a new user’s security within the system, you know who to go to.

Assign a deputy system supervisor

Assigning a deputy to the system supervisor will ensure that there is at least one representative in the office that can deal with any emergencies regarding the system.  A deputy user does not necessarily require the same level of access as the overall system supervisor, but they should be assigned sufficient rights to enable them to deal with the day to day configuration and running of the system.

Assign HR User Responsibilities

One mistake that HR can make when assigning ‘who does what’ within a system is to allow all users to enter all data and share responsibility overall.  It is a better strategy to assign certain areas of the system to the respective employee/user within the business.  For example, an HR user should enter the employee details, whereas the training data would be entered by an employee that works within the training area of the business, as they have specific knowledge about this department.

If you have payroll integrated into your HR system then you will also need to liaise with your Payroll department to ensure that this area of the system is configured correctly and that you are aware of the representative from Payroll that will liaise with HR should they need to.

Monitor Your HR Data Regularly

Data Once all of the data is entered into the system and you are satisfied that it is ‘clean’, it is important to ensure that the accuracy of that data is maintained.  Running regular reports (on screen as there is usually no need to print them out) will allow you to check for data inaccuracies and correct them accordingly.  If you were to run a report grouped by department and there were employees missing from that report, then the likelihood is that they are not assigned to a department within the system.

Code tables are an area that are particularly important to maintain.  A code table is a central ‘source’ of data which other areas of the system reference for information regarding an employee. For example, you may have a code table for all of the allowances that employees may be entitled to.  If an allowance within the code table is not accurate, then this could affect multiple employees who have this allowance assigned to their record.

Discuss Your Implementation With The Project Manager

A Project Manager is assigned specifically to make sure that the implementation project runs smoothly and is managed correctly.  Discussing queries or concerns that you may have, in a timely fashion, will ensure that any additional requirements can be accommodated and added to the project.  They are also on hand in an advisory capacity should you wish to confirm any assumptions or clarify any questions.

Use Consultancy Time

HR system consultancy is a valuable resource.  Ensure that the correct people from the business are present for any consultancy time booked with your supplier and that everyone is prepared with questions regarding their role and the best practices for setting up the system.  If in doubt about any aspect of the implementation, ask. That is what the consultant is there for.  The consultant naturally has knowledge of the system and can provide advice on the best ways to implement it.

Take Advantage Of HR Outsourcing

HR OutsourcingOne way a business can lessen the burden of entering data into a new system is to take advantage of HR Outsourcing services.  Ciphr offers an outsourcing service clients can use to perform such tasks as data entry, report creation, batch changes or any other task normally assigned to an HR system user.  This service can be used to significantly reduce the workload on HR, and allow the HR team to concentrate on more strategic projects.

As well as the time savings achieved, outsourcing enables the business to share the responsibility of the data accuracy with the outsource provider. After all,  part of the service offered is to meet the requirements of the client, in this case, the accurate data entry.

Ensure Users Attend Regular Training 

Whether being trained on a new area of the system, or attending regular ‘refresher’ training, it is important for your system administrators to be up to date with their training and any changes that may have been introduced into the system.  With any system upgrade there are usually functionality enhancements and changes that your users should be aware of and know how to utilise effectively.

At Ciphr we provide training both at our offices and on client premises.  This ensures that our clients have the opportunity and option to attend training that is most convenient for them.

Regular System Backups

System Backup If you implement the system ‘in house’ (as opposed to in a SaaS environment) then it is your responsibility to ensure that regular backups are taken, and that they are taken correctly.  Ideally a backup should be taken every day. This may sound overkill but if you take into account the amount of data entered in one day, for the entire workforce, then re-entering this may amount to a huge burden on unnecessary time consuming exercise.

Use The Service Desk

Service desks are there to assist you.  They are not just there to support errors but are happy to answer questions regarding the day to day running of the system or give advice regarding best practices.