Transformation is a key element in an organization’s effort to stay ahead of the curve. With the external ecosystem constantly evolving, organizations need to drive productivity and maintain its economies of scope and scale. As with any transformation, the time-period during which changes are implemented is the most turbulent. It is here that an effective intervention by the HR department of the organization plays a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth transformation.
HR leaders are ideally positioned to overcome common roadblocks that stand in the way of organizational change management. The Key to paving the way for change is engaging the workforce as an active participant in the process. Even though 90% of organizations are at some stage of transformation, only 30% of those change initiatives succeed—so the stakes are very high. To ensure that all employees change in tune with the company’s pace of transformation, HR leaders need to proactively devise strategies to facilitate the change. We explore seven proven steps HR can take to ensure successful transformation:
Acknowledge the approach to transformation
The first step is to come to a consensus on the approach of transformation. The ability to adapt depends significantly on “How are you changing?” According to one estimate, more than 50% of companies change by continuously aligning business models with their overall strategy. The other way is to transform through more localized and project- or process-specific efforts. It’s essential that HR take the lead in devising the change approach and establish a plan for executing it.
Communicate and engage--Making the business case for change
One of the biggest problems during a transformation period is the internal resistance to it. To mitigate resistance, HR should engage in a consistent, holistic dialogue with everyone impacted by the change. This involves speaking with employees across the organization so they know why change is vital to the business and how it will affect their roles, career plans, and compensation. It is imperative to build a consensus within the employee base for the change to get them aboard to execute the transformation successfully. This also involves sharing the nuances of the plan with them and maintaining working channels of communication to keep them updated with the changes.
Define a clear route with the right checkpoints
HR plays a central role in coordinating employees’ change-related workloads so they do not become overwhelmed. This requires a complete understanding of the transformation process and careful planning as HR delineates clear checkpoints of the process. Building in milestones and success metrics can create the added momentum for change.
One of the biggest problems during a transformation period is the internal resistance to it. To mitigate resistance, HR should engage in a consistent, holistic dialog with everyone impacted by the change.
Leverage technology to gain flexibility
Transformation exercises may require moving people quickly into new roles, often with rapid shifts in career paths, training requirements, and compensation. HR systems need to be agile in response, capturing these changes and giving employees the information they need to evolve with the business.
Tap into cultural pride points
Culture is the unwritten rule for how people interact and get things done in the organization. It plays a great role in how the policies for change are implemented. HR leaders can tap into the cultural strong points to assimilate the transformation outcomes with it. This will help the incoming changes within the organization become a part of the culture and hence create greater acceptance for such a change.
Unleash the power of informal influencers
To make any transformation process successful, there is a need to bring influencers within the company onboard. Highly influential people are often at the heart of the change process, regardless of their official positions. HR can identify these informal leaders and work with them as cultural change agents to build support for change.
Managing and engaging the right people across the organization
HR has the ability to tie the entire organization together during the transformation period. This can be done by communicating consistent messages through multiple channels across the organization and engaging stakeholders at various levels. Everyone from entry-level employees to middle management to the C-suite needs to be engaged, knowing what to do to make the change initiative a success. They also need to understand that HR is there to support them as they undergo the transformation.
Managing the complexity of transformation in an organization with diversified business lines across countries can be a big barrier for senior leadership. This coupled with our natural resistance to change, makes it difficult for companies to adapt to the changing external conditions. With the proper HR intervention, the company can be brought together to ensure that the transformation process drives productivity.