Article: Navigating change management in the digital age: HR's role in driving successful transformation

HR Technology

Navigating change management in the digital age: HR's role in driving successful transformation

Leaders must decode the role of HR to enable organisational change and transformation with a people-driven framework.
Navigating change management in the digital age: HR's role in driving successful transformation

Any organisational change, big or small, requires a holistic approach to recalibrating processes, resources, and people. While managing the technical, legal, or financial aspects of a business change are surely complex, leading the workforce through it compounds the multifold challenges. 

Despite the mammoth effort that goes into managing organisational change, it is noteworthy that over half of change initiatives fail, and only 34% are a clear success, according to Gartner. With 73% of organisations expecting the need for change management to increase by 2024, it’s a prudent time to discuss how HR can play a role in this process. 

Change management in the digital age

Change management has been a vital business process that includes planning, executing, and controlling different types of organisational change. The 8-step Kotter Model has been the bedrock of most change management strategies over the past three decades, but with changing times, the types of organisational changes that companies encounter are also evolving. In the modern digital age, businesses are found to execute workforce-related changes such as layoffs, closure of business verticals, outsourcing, policy changes, leadership restructuring, remedial changes, and more.

HR’s role in championing transformations

By virtue of its sphere of influence, the HR function is uniquely positioned to play an integral role in change management and implementation. Since HR professionals work directly with people, they can support employees through the transition, provide psychological safety and communication, help get buy-in, mitigate mindset-related challenges, and garner commitment from managers. HR leaders can also help business leaders keep employees at the centre of transformations, resolve conflicts, and facilitate collaboration. 

Here are some best practices that HR leaders can follow to support change management in their organisations:

Create synergy

Communicating the proposed changes to employees, explaining the necessary steps of the process, and helping people get behind the goal is crucial for successful transformations. Unsurprisingly, 73% of change-affected employees experience moderate to high-stress levels, and HR can play a pivotal role at this stage by acting as the interface between the management and the workforce to help people understand change better. They can create a synergy between the planning and implementation by providing clear instructions, creating internal documents and guides, and answering questions about the said change, its impact, and its scope. 

Facilitate learning and development

Any change, big or small, requires some upskilling and reskilling. The HR team can help people improve their proficiency by curating learning programs, training sessions and providing the necessary change-related resources. This is particularly vital when the organisation integrates new-age AI tools in its business processes or explores new business verticals. Using comprehensive professional learning solutions, such as the Learning & Development Suite by Akrivia HCM, can enable organisations to effectively build, publish, and manage training programs for evolving business needs. 

Assess readiness and remove obstacles

The company’s HR leadership can be instrumental in evaluating the readiness to implement changes in talent, subject matter expertise, industry network, and middle management. The HR team can help design the strategic vision and approach of different transformations by enlisting the support of high-performing and high-potential individuals who can play a more significant role in facilitating the change. So, by working alongside team managers, they can identify key barriers, such as gaps in resources or skills, and formulate suitable solutions to remedy them. 

Ensure employee engagement and satisfaction

The HR team ensures that the company’s workforce is satisfied and engages with the changes throughout the transformation process. It’s important to note that 70% of all change initiatives fail due to employee resistance and lack of support from management. By having departmental and one-on-one interactions, assessing their level of commitment, providing feedback or additional support, increasing buy-in, and celebrating incremental successes, the HR team can control the pace of change and mitigate any unintended consequences on the people. Sophisticated tools, like the Engagement Suite by Akrivia HCM, can help HR leaders develop a collaborative, interactive, and engaged approach to change management.  

Align organisational and personal goals

According to McKinsey, 75% of change destinations were reached when employees were included in early planning. While the company’s senior leadership team sets and implements the desired change, the HR team can ensure that these changes align with the personal and collective aspirations of the workforce. This step is critical to establish a shared sense of purpose, vision, and mission that increases the chances of success. HR can galvanize the workforce towards common goals by setting new and revising existing KPIs, establishing learning goals, updating performance assessment frameworks, and building successful pathways of excelling in a changed environment. 

Measure impact on performance, culture, and trust 

To pave the way for sustainable transformation, it is critical to continually measure the impact of any change on tangible factors, such as performance and engagement scores, as well as intangible assets, such as organisational culture and workplace values. Plenty of comprehensive performance management tools, like the Performance Suite by Akrivia HCM, offer data-driven insights into employee performance and can help analyse how different organisational changes impact employee output. Similarly, it is essential to empower managers to identify changes in their team cultures, plug trust deficits, and encourage innovation.

Change in the digital age: Learning from the past and looking toward the future

As HR leaders get a seat at the business decision-making table, it is important for them to participate in organisational change with a definitive role. In today’s volatile world, wherein external and internal factors can fundamentally alter business performance and journeys, HR must be prepared for disruptions and changes with effective tools, flexible policies, and a people-centric framework that prioritises workforce trust and satisfaction. Learn more about modernising and upgrading your HR function using data-driven solutions.

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Topics: HR Technology, #ChangeManagement, #Future of Work, #TechHRIN

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