One of the more interesting aspects of my role with AspireHR is working with clients in different countries with different languages and cultural values. I always find it intriguing as to what is permissible in one country versus what is totally unacceptable in another. This creates very real issues when deploying an SAP HR solution inside a global company. Establishing some common processes or systems can mean meeting cultural differences head-on in order to determine if these are real barriers to ’common practices’ or just another way of expressing ’we have always done things this way and we won’t change!’
As such, in these projects there is a big emphasis on Training and Change Management as a way of achieving global acceptance to a common way of doing things. It is also an effective way of engaging other parties who have a say in the process, such as Workers Councils and Trade Unions. And whilst some of the issues raised seem quite trivial to ’outsiders’ like me, they are very real for those raising them. For the overall success of the project, such issues must be dealt with sympathetically but with a firm belief in the ’common good’ and not hold up the process. My recommendation is to engage any potential blockers with a stake in the solution early in the process and get the issues out on the table. I witnessed firsthand where interested parties were excluded (as it was known that there would be problems) from the initial process only to have them derail the project just before Go-Live – an experience I do not wish to go through again and one I would not want a client to go through.
Fortunately, I am working with two clients at the moment who absolutely understand this principle, both with a large unionized employee base. In one instance, the client actually engaged the local unions in the conceptual phase of the project to get their buy-in and acceptance of the inevitable changes required in both the workforce and methods. The end result? No hold ups, no issues and no delays to Go-Live – we went live two weeks ago on time and on budget.