In order to meet the current demands of an uncertain business environment Human Resources professionals are expected to be a key partner in managing change and assisting the leaders of the company by supporting changes to the organization. As business partners, Human Resources professionals play an important role by assisting leadership in four key areas:
§ Identify, evaluate and assess the risks and rewards associated with organizational change in order to beflexible and adjust to the changes in the market and business.
§ Evaluate the current talent mix and organizational structure to determine if the current skills that the employees possess will meet the organization’s needs in the future.
§ Communicate with the employees so that they understand what changes are needed along with explaining the timeframe and the potential outcomes.
§ Determine the success of the changes implemented and evaluate the alignment between the business, culture and the staff.
This article discusses these four areas of organizational change which can have a positive impact on the organization and its workforce or if not managed properly can be very detrimental to the organization.
Successful transformation initiatives begin when the leaders examine the marketplace to determine what changes in their business may result in new challenges for their organization. These challenges include new technology, new products and/or services, changes in social patterns, shifts in tax policy or demographic re-alignments. The leaders need to evaluate the risks and rewards associated with the proposed changes to the business model and develop a strategy to adapt to the new realities.
Current Talent Mix
Successful change takes time, which can be disruptive to the organization. When the business changes often the current talent mix is not in alignment in order to execute this new strategy. The Human Resources team needs to be in a position to evaluate the employees’ existing skills to determine if their skills and knowledge will meet the future needs of the organization. Until the existing staff have the necessary skills the organization will remain vulnerable. It is important to evaluate the staff and create a performance plan to ensure that all employees have a road map to success. It is also important that HR holds all people accountable to ensure that these milestones for implementation and business improvement are met. If done properly the current talent mix will be aligned with the new strategy.
Communicating to the Employee
Frequently the decisions that are made about the organization are made at the c-suite level with the understanding the middle management will share the changes with the rank-and-file staff. Oftentimes, this approach while well intended, is not communicated effectively or is unclear. Poor communication about why the changes are being implemented and the strategy hinders the successful implementation. To mitigate poor communication, Human Resources needs to play a key role in coaching and educating the employees and middle managers about what is changing and how it will impact their job.
Determine Employee Engagement
Successful change starts with individuals, and failure will often occur because resistance to change is human nature. Some managers are very skilled at change management; however, unfortunately, many managers are not adept at facilitating change. The lack of change management skills among managers can make change initiatives difficult to achieve. Human Resources plays a very important role in determining where change is being embraced and where resistance is occurring. HR can leverage those areas that are successful throughout the organization and where it is being resisted more resources and tools can be allocated to address these area’s needs.
In conclusion, successfully identifying the rewards and risks association with organization change, evaluating the current talent to determine if the organization can meet the new strategy, communicating the rationale for the changes and evaluating challenges where there are pockets of success and/or resistance will help the Human Resources department manage organization change successfully.
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