Article: How to build a workforce of relentless change agents

A Brand Reachout InitiativeTalent Management

How to build a workforce of relentless change agents

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HR has a great leadership role to play in leveraging change management as a tool to bring about business transformation. Read on to know how you can make this transformation journey worthwhile for your employees
How to build a workforce of relentless change agents

Bringing a transformative shift to your people practices involves engineering a shift in the mindset, and process. Right from a project management standpoint to enabling people and systems, architecting and managing change will be critical to the success of your HR transformation journey.

John P. Kotter in his article, Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail, observes that “Too many managers don’t realize that transformation is a process and not an event.” Similarly, a digital transformation exercise is not an event but a journey that the organizations need to embrace. In this journey, HR professionals play the role of a change agent.

Read on to know how you as an HR professional can change the mindset of both, the leaders and the employees in this journey of transformation.

Understand what trigger’s change:

In a webcast on the topic “Architecting and managing change,” Pramod Sadarjoshi, Senior Director, APAC, HCM Strategy & Transformation at Oracle, explains the V-model of change that explains what drives change.

The V-model contains a series of drivers and the consequent outcomes that impact the organization and its stakeholders. The model includes three drivers:

•    External Drivers: These are the VUCA or competition-driven external drivers, i.e., factors in the external environment stimulating a drive for change. E.g., economy, laws, and trends. The outcome creates the business case for change.
•    Organizational Drivers: These are the factors that drive the need for change in the organization. These factors can be an organizational vision, missions, culture, etc. These drivers lead to a change in the operating model, culture, and processes.
•    Individual and Team Drivers: These factors create an internal drive for change. These are the personal goals, agendas, wishes, and dreams which are the subset of an organization that you work for. The outcome is new roles and responsibilities.

Why is there a resistance to change?

Individuals resist change when they do not understand the real purpose of the proposed changes. It is one of the difficult problems for business executives to face. Such resistance may be reflected in various forms- reduced output, slowdowns or strikes, attrition, etc.  The most common reasons why people resist changes are:

•    Loss of control
•    Fear of the unknown
•    Fear of complexity
•    Force of habit
•    Increased workload

How to deal with resistance?

Is communication the only way of breaking resistance among people? Follow these key pillars to halt resistance from people towards change:

1. Visible Leadership:

The role of effective leadership cannot be underestimated in the change process. The vision for change arises from the top of a company and engagement by the executive team can make or break the implementation effort. Here is how you can get your leaders to get involved in the overall change process:

•    Develop an understanding of where groups/individuals are in the change cycle
•    Listen and acknowledge fears and concerns
•    Remove obstacles and barriers
•    Reinforce the benefits of change
•    Thank and recognize each for their contributions and embarking on the change journey
•    Identifying training and development opportunities for your team
•    Involve your team in decision making
•    Encourage team members to ask questions and talk about the role they plan or how the change fits into the larger picture.

2. Role-modelling right behaviors:

Role modeling right behavior is vital for transformation process to be successful. Demonstrating desired behaviors provides credibility to the message of behaviors. Here’s how a leader can help employees to pick up the right set of behaviors to embrace change:

•    Live the change- Not only talk about the change, but take steps that make it happen
•    Set an example and model desired behavior
•    Be enthusiastic and committed to the transformation
•    Approach change in an open and consultative manner
•    Utilize opportunities to enhance your own and team skills to be more effective in the future state.
•    Show appreciation for the fact that change can be difficult and very personal
•    Understand and influence key stakeholders within business units and external customers

3. Listening and Communicating:

The most common pitfall in any transformation is under communicating the vision and the change process.  Use every channel possible to communicate the new vision and strategies for achieving it. Following are the ways you can adapt to communicate with your employees and teach them new habits by the example of the guiding coalition:

•    Communicate with your team directly- don’t wait
•    Actively listen to team members and ask questions to check for understanding
•    Provide additional information and more frequent face-to-face contact
•    Make yourself available to talk to your team members
•    Increase engagement with your staff and business unit counterparts
•    Continue career development discussions with each of your direct reports
•    Develop and communicate a shared understanding of the way forward
•    Promote and sustain the impetus for change
•    Ensure everyone understands the rationale and benefits of the change

Change is always hard, and mostly because people are reluctant to adapt to changes around them. However, with the right mix of motivational leadership, right behaviors and a compelling vision can help you manage people to not only adapt the changes but also to institutionalize the new approaches.


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Topics: Talent Management, HR Technology, #Lets Talk Talent

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