Dayforce HCM Implementation Guide: Seven Key Steps

Choosing the best human capital management (HCM) system for your company’s needs is an important component of your continuing business success. After you select Dayforce to manage your employee lifecycle, it’s important to recognize that this selection is really only the first step in what may be a complex process. It’s the implementation that transforms software into a living technology that helps companies successfully manage employee data to keep a competitive edge in recruitment, retention, employee satisfaction and more.

To help you gain or strengthen that competitive edge, this post lists seven key steps that organizations must take to maximize the benefits of their Dayforce HCM implementation. If you have questions about any of these steps, feel free to contact Providence Technology Solutions online or by calling 904.719.8264 or emailing

Step 1: Create An HCM Implementation Plan

As you went through the HCM selection process, you may have created a team of key stakeholders who identified challenges to meet and gaps to be filled. This same team may continue to play a central role in the implementation process, working with the HCM vendor of choice to create an implementation timeline; determine which HCM modules will be integrated; train the company’s staff in how to optimally use the system; decide how the company will define and measure implementation success, and more.

As you set a target go-live date and determine implementation milestones, make sure the schedule is realistic. The more realistic you can be, the more seamless the transition to Dayforce will be as well.

It isn’t unusual to discover that you need additional IT help during this process. If your IT needs exceed your staffing capabilities, we can help. We use best practices to source IT professionals and provide you with the personnel you need, right when you need them. We have a database of more than 20,000 highly qualified candidates, including those with significant experience in Dayforce HCM. Here is more information about our staff augmentation services, designed to help ensure the perfect fit for your organization.


What to avoid: Unnecessary scope creep

As you plan your HCM implementation, you may be considering all possibilities and functionalities for your new system. Brainstorming at the start of your planning process can open up possibilities you may never have considered before. But, once you’ve decided upon your plan, your project manager will need to keep control of the size of the project, avoiding scope creep and expanding the project thoughtfully, only when the value of the expansion is clear and not a knee-jerk reaction to a new idea.


Step 2: Dedicate Resources To Change Management

As part of the change management process, ensure that a plan is firmly in place to keep people informed throughout the implementation process, including how this will affect their job duties. While some employees may be fully in favor of the transition from the start and excited about the potential of the HCM, other employees may become anxious during any sort of significant change. Both reactions are normal, with your HCM stakeholder team needing to provide training and change management support, as needed. It can help to share with employees why you are implementing Dayforce and how it will help your company achieve its goals.

Ask your implementation vendor about available training, including topics and timelines, and how it will be provided. provides an excellent overview of what successful change management looks like, recommending that companies focus on minimizing resisters and maximizing the drivers of change. They share how “time required to change hearts and minds must be built into your change management plan,” stating that you can be aggressive while also being realistic of the time it will take to help employees transition their roles and for the overall workplace culture to appropriately adjust to the new technology.

Acknowledge that during the HCM implementation other projects may need to be placed lower on the priority list. That’s because no company can successfully manage every single project at the same time. Listen to dissenters—they may have a valuable viewpoint you haven’t yet considered—but focus your overall energy on working with the willing. As part of your change management, acknowledge that you will sometimes need to correct your course. That’s just part of the forward movement.

Also pay special attention to any new components to your system. If, for example, you will be incorporating self-service applications for the first time because of your Dayforce HCM implementation, your managers will have a brand-new duty as they help their direct reports understand the system and answer their questions. Employees will need to know where and how to access the information they need and some will understand the system more quickly than others.


What to avoid: Skimping on dedicating resources to change management

As you focus on the technical aspects of your implementation are moving along, it may be tempting to put the personal side of the transition, change management, on a back burner, figuring you can get to that later on in the process. In fact, your change management components should be a major driver throughout the transition and implementation as you continue to craft and share information about the new technology and how it will improve your HCM in particular and workforce overall. It’s crucial to continue to engage stakeholders so they can serve as champions of the implementation and help to manage any concerns (expressed or implied) that this project will interfere with daily operations or ultimately make any jobs harder.


Step 3: Optimize Your HR Data

As part of your HCM implementation, you should ensure that your data is as accurate as possible so you don’t waste valuable resources migrating inaccurate or outdated data. After all, consistently maintaining valid data is the foundation of every single business application.

As you audit and scrub your data, you’ll want to focus on these five goals:

  1. Improving the quality of your data for payroll, benefit management, and overall HR functions
  2. Minimizing any issues with data integrity
  3. Detecting redundant or obsolete data to reduce data volume
  4. Reduce data extraction and upload times
  5. Improve integration of data, along with reporting and analytics capabilities

This is also the time to look at which HR functions you are still doing manually or apart from your overall HCM system, and see which functions you can integrate and automate. Create test scenarios throughout the employee life-cycle so you can ensure, for example, that payroll will work seamlessly after the implementation and integration takes place. Here is more information about data auditing and data migration.

Once you’ve scrubbed your data, it’s time to create or modify processes and procedures to help ensure the data stays as accurate and clean as possible going forward. Document changes in procedure in writing and make sure that all relevant team members know of and understand the changes just made to preserve data quality and integrity. Consider creating checklists for them to follow, especially important until the new procedures become second nature to them. Some processes may occur daily or weekly, while others are only relevant monthly or perhaps even annually.

What to avoid: Unconcern about root causes

You may be so relieved when your data is clean and accurate that you don’t spend time analyzing root causes of any inaccuracies in the first place. Were there data entry issues found that could still be problematic going forward? Or were multiple systems integrated in the past without enough auditing performed? If you use certain codes, are there misunderstandings about how those should be used? Now is the time to get to the bottom of any process problems and correct them before they affect your newly audited data.


Step 4: Provide Honest Updates

Regular reviews of the implementation process are important, as is communicating its progress to relevant stakeholders. It’s also important to recognize that, because a new HCM implementation can be such a significant undertaking, it isn’t possible to perform  it perfectly. So, analyze what’s going well, what isn’t going as well as anticipated, and what new issues have cropped up that you hadn’t considered before. Perhaps, as one example, the technical end is progressing as planned, but updating procedures has caused you to recognize several inconsistencies that hadn’t come to the forefront in the past. How can you create a more seamless process to take full advantage of Dayforce?


What to avoid: Pollyanna reporting

The Pollyanna principle is a positivity bias, one that causes a person to focus on and remember the positive aspects of an event more so than the more challenging aspects. If you’re playing a key role in the HCM implementation process, it’s only natural to want to give glowing updates about how the process is going. Or, maybe it’s your supervisor who is championing the change. You’d therefore love to say that everyone is buying in, that you hadn’t forgotten any areas of significance to proactively address and so forth. But real life doesn’t work like this. Use discovered gaps as learning opportunities and then move on.

It can also be tempting, with the absolute best of intentions, to downplay the investment of time and other resources required when describing the transition to HR employees. The first time this happens, employees may briefly be relieved but when your promises aren’t fulfilled, they are less likely to believe you next time, and this is how a pattern of distrust can begin. This isn’t to say that you should be able to perfectly predict the future: Just avoid Pollyanna reporting when speaking with executives or with the on-the-ground team.


Step 5: Engage Team Members Outside Of Headquarters

System applications are typically tested by and perhaps even initially used by people who work at the main location of a company, and that often makes good sense. But if you have additional locations and teams placed across the country or the world, it’s crucial to also focus on aligning workplace culture, processes and procedures across your enterprise. To make that happen, it’s important to recognize the challenges associated with this perhaps daunting-feeling task and then position yourself for success by focusing on the opportunities associated with this alignment.

As much as is reasonable, share your great corporate strategies with satellite-site employees, and explain how this implementation will allow strategy, workplace culture, and HR processes and procedures to align. And, when all is aligned, according to, your “situation shifts dramatically. Leadership is accessible, and employees aren’t closed off from each other. They cross-train and feel open to talking about questions and concerns, and this leads to employees on the front lines speaking up about process improvements, later rewarded with better pay and benefits. Those on the front lines are the first-class citizens of your company.”

Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? So, how do you make that happen during this HCM implementation? Choosing the right leaders from satellite locations to serve as the central points of contact is crucial, ones who can manage multiple teams in diverse time zones, effectively communicating with them. Look for strong and experienced leaders who are supportive of the implementation, but also willing to share any concerns.

What to avoid: Mismatched role assignments

At each location, you’ll want a central point of contact, and these are vital members of the HCM implementation team. You may first think of someone from a particular location because he or she is enthusiastic about taking on the job, or because of his or her job title. But take your time and select exactly the right person at each location. You may, for example, initially think of a certain person because of all his or her HR experience, but then you you consider that he or she struggles a bit with change. You’re confident this person will become a champion of Dayforce, but is this really the right person to be a leader at a location? Consider each of your choices strategically.


Step 6: Implementing Dayforce HCM

The right time to implement is after your key stakeholders have had enough time to review the plan and feel confident that the design meets your company’s requirements. Members of the project team should have already determined how to balance any role they’ll play in the implementation with their other job duties. Those job duties, they will clearly and confidently know, can effectively fit into one of these categories:

  • Safety deprioritized during the implementation time-frame
  • Handled by other experienced team members
  • Managed by the HCM implementation vendor or an augmented team
  • Effectively handled themselves, without giving short shrift to these duties or the implementation tasks they also must handle

It helps to do a final review of any milestones yet to be accomplished and to ensure that they are still reasonable and realistic.


What to avoid: Insufficient time for testing

You may want to dive right into using your brand-new technologies, but it’s vital to set aside enough time to test your Dayforce HCM implementation to make sure it is providing what your business needs. Here’s a scenario that isn’t unusual: Let’s say that earlier parts of the process took longer than anticipated. To make up time, your team might decide to more aggressively test the system in a shorter period of time, thereby achieving your original implementation completion date. Each situation is unique, with differing amounts of data and levels of complexity, but this compressed testing timeline often doesn’t work as well as planned. Don’t rush.

You also don’t want to give yourself too much time to achieve milestones, and thereby delay use of your powerful new technologies. This can cause the project to lose momentum. Steady wins the race.

Step 7: Planning For Post-Go Live Support

If there is one theme that should run throughout the entire implementation process, it’s being proactive, and that’s true with post-live support. You’ll need to think about a support system for employees immediately after Dayforce HCM is implemented, as well as what support you’ll need long-term.

When your system goes live, you’ll naturally get employee feedback. And, although you would prefer that all of it was positive, employees will have questions and some of them (especially those who struggle with change) will express frustration. What’s important is that you listen and respond appropriately; and, whenever an employee has a question that isn’t covered by the documentation you’ve provided for them, add the information. Your documentation is never “done.” Instead, it is a central source of information that evolves as your company’s technologies, systems, processes, and procedures do. Also be sure to archive as well as add information. As information becomes obsolete, remove it from the main manuals and archive it for those instances when historical information is needed.

What to avoid: Becoming defensive

As a member of the HCM implementation team, you’ve worked hard to help ensure that your company will benefit from the best possible systems and technologies, and you’ve invested plenty of personal energy to make this implementation go live. So it’s easy to get defensive if someone has a question about its usage.

Instead, see questions and comments as a way to foolproof your technologies and systems. Start with the assumption that each employee is coming to you with a genuine need for information and assistance. If you notice that a certain employee is repeatedly having concerns, refer to your change management strategies established in step two. People adjust to change at different rates and in different ways.

Providence Technology Solutions For Dayforce HCM Implementation

Read more tips to avoid the chaos in HCM implementations

When we Implement and optimize Dayforce applications for your company, this will elevate the quality of your business intelligence while also reducing your costs. Providence Technology Solutions is a market leader in HCM technology consulting, including system implementations, and we also provide top-level post-live support.

We offer complete transparency throughout the entire process and offer proprietary tools to provide you with first-class service from start to finish. Providence Technology Solutions is a trusted Dayforce implementation company, and we collaborate with companies like yours to create customized HCM solutions, with a goal to facilitate an even more productive workforce.

Dayforce HCM modules that we can implement and support include the following:

  • Workforce Management
    • Time & Attendance
    • Labor Planning
    • Scheduling
    • Absence Management
    • Task Management
  • HR Management
    • Employee Management
    • Self Service
    • Reporting
    • Dashboards
    • Document Management
  • Payroll
  • Benefits (including carrier feeds)
    • Enrollment
    • Benefits Administration
    • ACA
  • Talent Management
    • Recruiting
    • Onboarding
    • Learning
    • Performance
    • Compensation
    • TeamRelate

You can find more information on our site about how our HCM consultants can guide you through our HCM implementation services. We also offer managed services for Dayforce HCM, including ongoing support of the platform, customized reporting with easy-to-read dashboards and more. We can help your HR department streamline payroll processing and managing, and our benefits platform supports Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting, file maintenance for electronic data interchange (EDI), and much more.

Providence Technology Solutions helps organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their HR functions by aligning technology and processes with their business needs. Learn how we could help your organization improve your employee experience through our HCM Consulting services.

Contact us today to discuss your needs online, by email at or by calling 904.719.8264.

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