Building the Right Staffing Model for Your HR Systems Project: Part One

In this two-part article, our team of human capital management specialists cover key concepts to consider when staffing an HCM project, whether it is an on-premise vendor implementation, internal development or a cloud-based deployment.

The key concepts discussed in part one are:

  • The difference between staff augmentation and consulting
  • The role of the system integrator

The key concepts discussed in part two are:

  • Dispelling the belief that you can do everything with your existing staff while they still perform their current jobs
  • Completing a comprehensive skills analysis

Key Concepts: The difference between consulting and staff augmentation

While consulting fills gaps in staff skills and bandwidth, consultants can also provide a much broader array of abilities to a project. Consultants bring expertise, management skills, technical skills and specific experience within a body of knowledge and an ability to lead a team through the complexities of the project.

A consultant is a guide during your journey. They provide advisory services and watch for:

  • resource utilization
  • proper controls
  • data quality
  • data management
  • government compliance

It is critical to the success of a project that the consultant you work with understands the path ahead, the pitfalls and the opportunities. This role is instrumental in developing the skills of the project team in numerous core areas.

For example, a consultant on an implementation project with past experience with the same vendor solution is able to bring lessons learned and specific functional knowledge of the product to the team. That combined with years of implementation experience with multiple vendors across different industries fulfills a critical leadership role on the project.

Consultants also lend knowledge in teaching, coaching and mentoring project staff. This results in the enhancement of functional, technical and project skills in the core team.

Staff augmentation (also known as hiring contractors) is hiring for specific skills and knowledge that do not exist within your organization, or hiring for additional talent with appropriate skills to properly support your organization’s project. Staff augmentation is a great way to supplement the project team to complete tasks and reach the finish line. These contractors operate under your direction and supervision.

For example, you might hire a contractor who is a skilled benefits analyst to whom your benefits manager could delegate responsibilities. Perhaps you augment with a coordinator level position and elevate an existing staff member to take on some facets of the manager’s role. In addition, if you expect your 401(k) audit to fall within a critical time of a project, you could plan ahead and specifically staff an experienced 401(k) administrator to carry that burden.

Both roles explained above are critical to successfully staffing a large project. When selecting consultants or contractors, look for practitioner level skillsets. This can be found in professionals who have worked inside similar organizations in the role that is needed. These individuals understand the need to “keep the lights on” and the complexities of project demands.

Key Concepts: The role of the system integrator

A system integrator is typically hired to perform the configuration of  new software. One of the many roles a system integrator plays is to provide a detailed project plan that includes a resource plan by functional area. Timing of this information is important, and you must communicate with the integrator or consulting partner during the development of the business case in order to fully understand timing and impacts to the business. This type of consultation will often provide a better understanding about the number of resources needed, the skills, talents and expertise of those resources as well as the timing of when they will be needed.

This will also inform the development of a staff augmentation budget and help ensure adequate funding is available when the resources are needed. While most projects are managed with a strong sense of urgency to minimize overall cost, it is important to note that compressing project timelines may drive higher staff augmentations costs. A detailed understanding of what skills are needed, and when, will inform this decision making.

In part two of this article, we will discuss skills, proper staffing, budgeting and more. To get in touch with our team of HCM and HR professionals, please contact us. We’d love to talk!

Click here to read Part 2

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