Should process mapping be part of your HR Technology project?

HR Technology

Over the last year I have spoken to many organisations who regretted not carrying out process mapping before they started their HR technology project.   Its very easy to be lured into the appeal of new software functionally, thinking it would be the answer to inefficiency and improved reporting without carrying out the proper groundwork first.  Consistent feedback from new implementations highlights business improvement being achieved but not to the levels first expected.   In many cases these projects have been driven by the suppliers focusing on software features and functions rather than implementing the system in a way that supports business processes.

Most of the larger software suppliers deliver best practice business processes as part of their implementation, however for many of the others, the implementation focus is more on data than process and this often results in an electronic filing system being implemented with many of the automation capability not delivered.

What are the benefits of carrying out process mapping?

Process mapping highlights inefficiencies and identifies areas for improvement, but it can also have other surprising benefits.

It’s rare not to hear the words “we didn’t realise our processes were so bad” during process mapping workshops.   Although many organisations know they have issues, the extent and impact are sometimes overlooked.  External departments and stakeholders are often invited to participate in process mapping, especially those impacted by poor process and this involvement can improve understanding and relationship.

Having mapped out the desired processes, these can be a very useful baseline for the supplier selection, implementation planning, user acceptance testing and post go live review.

The process maps can also be used in operational handbooks especially useful when introducing new starters to the organisation.

Doesn’t process mapping take a long time to complete?

There are several ways of approaching process mapping.  The first which is the most time-consuming is to carry out the As Is activity often involving a large sheet of brown paper and lots of post it notes followed by a detailed review of how to improve the process.  The second option is to take a set of best practice process maps which have been tried and tested in other similar sized organisations and carry out a gap analysis to see how well these would work for their organisation.  Although this can be time efficient it removes the focus on the current issues and their impacts.    A successful approach is to combine the As Is activity with the gap analysis which can reduce workshop time to a few days.

Why not just implement the out of the box processes delivered by the Software Suppliers.

Although many suppliers offer standard business processes, you need to be careful what you are signing up for.   Although the software can deliver the business process, not all are out of the box and need to be configured, sometimes at a cost from the supplier?   In some cases, business processes are presented as part of a quick or cost-effective implementation approach.  Having studied some of these recently and compared them to best practice, there can be significant gaps which often only become apparent during User Acceptance Testing and may lead to additional unexpected expenditure to the project.

Where to go if I want help with process mapping.

There are lots of large, medium and independent consultancies offering process mapping activity.  At People & Technologies we have successfully carried out cost effective As Is and best practice process mapping using our extensive 30 year knowledge of HR process and technology.  For more information please visit our website at or contact us at