Article: A critical component of change management: collaborate!

Culture

A critical component of change management: collaborate!

Collaborative efforts are usually the unsung hero of corporate stories. But can businesses today create an organization wide culture of collaboration that ensures employee productivity keeps pace with changing business needs? Heres a look
A critical component of change management: collaborate!

Companies undergoing transformation processes have become the industry norm now. Change within workplaces is something that companies, both global and national alike, are getting used to. But a new research shows the rate of such ‘change’ has been accelerated when it comes to Asia- Pacific. Workplace change in the Asia-Pacific is accelerating at a pace far greater than most other regions according to new research from the ADP Research Centre. The study entitled The Evolution of Work – The Changing Nature of the Global Workplace, surveyed more than 2,000 employees and employers in 13 countries. It found 86% of APAC workers believed traditional workplace departments and hierarchies would not exist in the future. This was far higher than the global average of 54%.

In a business environment marked with economic fluctuations, evolving millennial workforce, fluctuating market demands and an ever-changing technology landscape, uncertainty becomes unprecedented. Such external disturbances become some of the factors driving change today. 

In such a dynamic business world, it becomes imperative that businesses manage and execute transformation processes more smoothly. Any change not managed correctly can strain HR’s ability to help the business create and maintain competitive people advantage. Human Resource professionals need to have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to not only adapt to change but to also identify when it’s needed and how to successfully leverage such opportunities. This has been fairly evident with the calling of technologies like cloud computing and digitization where HR professionals were left wanting. Although the focus of HR professionals have now evolved and the adoption of technology into people management processes have become a major priority across the board, HR professionals who can manage and execute change management process can ensure that companies are able to successfully translate transformation processes into increased business productivity.

The role of collaborations

One way that through which HR professionals can create a sustainable means to equip their workforce to sustain their performance through transformation processes is by enabling collaboration between different components of a business unit. In times of change HR professionals today needs to be able to drive collaboration and ensure resources are still available for associates and employees within the company. As this trend accelerates, the role of HR professionals to ensure that employee performance is factoring into the overall business productivity becomes critical. Developing a collaborative work culture within the company helps HR professionals to create net where people are often allowed to move out of their silos and contribute towards multiple areas. 

Collaboration today can re-invigorate organizations by fully engaging employees, improving retention, and increasing innovation. It can help employees thrive in an ever-changing, diverse workplace. However, as organizations grow, employees scatter through telework and multiple locations, budgets shrink, and workloads expand, making collaboration a big challenge. Many senior leaders view collaboration as a skill that is best applied on selected projects, rather than as an organization-wide cultural value that should be embedded in the company’s fabric. It is here where HR professionals become a key part of the equation.  By embedding collaboration into the very culture of the organization, they ensure that employees across the different business departments gain the perspective and need of collaborative efforts.  The first step to this entails working closely with senior leaders on enabling them to manage complex work styles and cultures (in the case of a company with a globally diverse workforce) to gain leverage collaborative efforts to the maximum.  A recent global research done by CEB confirmed that jobs require more collaboration today than they did three years ago, and that more employees need to regularly coordinate their work with people from different units and supervisory levels.

Getting it right

For HR professionals, collaboration should be viewed as a continuous process. It is important to them to identify the critical components that form a collaborative environment. In a truly collaborative environment, everyone has a voice and an agency. When people have a voice, they are able to contribute. When they understand how their contributions fit into their organization’s strategy, it gives them purpose. That purpose in-turn translates into a higher belief in their organization. Purpose and belief translate into high levels of engagement. At the most basic level, people want to feel a sense of belonging, and as such, collaboration takes center stage because it helps create an environment in which people want to belong

Collaboration has multiple benefits, but in order to continue benefitting from them, one needs to focus on its implementation within the very structure of the organizations functioning rather than looking at it on a project to project basis. Collaborative efforts often fail to achieve its desired outcomes because when its viewed as any other activity, it fails to make the necessary behavioral shifts that would enable the workforce to perform more effectively in time of business change. Most organizations today share a similarly narrow definition and relegate collaboration to an activity best used on a complex, high-impact project. A truly collaborative environment involves all organizational levels and is infused in an organization’s cultural identity and day-to-day operations.  If HR professionals today are able to break down organizational silos while also showing the senior leadership to build a larger perspective on the scope of a collaborative effort.  Collaboration thus becomes a vital part of change management strategies and helps in mitigating risks posed by the changing business environment. 

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Topics: Culture, #ChangeManagement

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