Vivek Paranjpe, Consultant & Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries answers professional and ethical dilemmas faced by our readers at their workplace.
I head HR for a medium-sized family-run organization. I read People Matters every month and I enjoy your space a lot as I get to learn from my colleagues and the challenges they face in daily corporate life. My problem is that even if I try to implement things that I learn from my peers, I am not able to get the buy-in of the CEO of the company. What is your recommendation on how I can bring about change in a family-run business, without much exposure to best practices in HR and without a dynamic mindset that is required for managing talent today?
I am glad that you read People Matters regularly and like my column. I sincerely hope this is beneficial to the readers.
Changing mindsets, beliefs, practices is a long drawn process, irrespective of whether you are part of a family-run business or a business run by the professionals. As a Head of HR, it is one of your responsibilities to become a guide/coach/educator in the company. You should endeavor to ensure that the entrepreneurs become aware of, and gain the knowledge of modern management practices and trends. Nudge them to get interested in looking at new developments and best practices with an open mind. Showcase the benefits. This is a slow process. It can be achieved in multiple ways. Just become creative.
Become a change agent. As a change agent, the most important task for you is to gain acceptance in the company, gain respect and ensure credibility is built for yourself. This can be done by ensuring full alignment with business objectives, consistent contributions, achievements, meeting and exceeding the commitments and ensuring what you recommend is appropriate and relevant for the corporation. You should remember that without a sound business case, it is always difficult/almost impossible to introduce any change. Another thing to remember - you can’t do everything in one go, you need to set realistic milestones for yourself and for the organization.
To sum up - buy in from the CEO will come only if the person recommending the change enjoys credibility and the proposal for the change is based on a sound business case.
Vivek is a Senior HR professional with over 35 years of experience, ranging several leadership positions, in India and abroad. He leads his consulting practice since 2003 and presently works as a Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries, and is also an independent Director on the Board of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. Prior to this he was based at Singapore for several years where he was Director HR - Operations at Hewlett Packard for the Asia Pacific Region.
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