Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Change Management and HR

SHRM’s 2007 Change Management Survey Report suggests that more than four out of five HR professionals report that their organizations planned or implemented major organizational changes in the 24 months preceding SHRM’s online survey, which was conducted in November 2006.

The top three major organizational changes that employers were planning or implementing, according to the survey, were:

• New or revised performance management and review processes.

• Major changes to their facilities.

• Changes to the organization’s culture.

However, employee resistance and a communications breakdown are the two primary obstacles employers face when major organizational changes enter the picture. Employees’ understanding of organizational changes improved when HR was involved in the change management processes before it was introduced to all employees, according to nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of 403 HR professionals surveyed.

“The finding that HR departments were most likely to be involved with the planning for major changes indicates that more often than not HR is viewed as a strategic partner for the change process,” the survey report says. Getting employees ready for major organizational changes requires that change management leaders promote understanding of those changes in a well-planned and well-timed manner, Benedict writes.

Perhaps the most important role which HR plays in driving the change initiatives is that to create the element of trust and awareness about the initiative and its impact on people. Some great change management initiatives never fail to have the desired impact as the stakeholders are either unsure about the desired result or do not share common interest and vision in bringing about the change. Change initiative is one of the vital strategic moves which allow the HR function to play leadership role in driving new initiatives.

Some may argue that HR by its very nature is not pro-change and that it believes in maintaining the status quo as it helps in ensuring compliance which brings consistency. However this argument fails miserably as the nature of business is has undergone a dynamic shift and today it’s not about business as usual by how you make the right moves to make the transition to “business unusual” and stay ahead.The same applies to people’s practice in organization. No organization can afford to have de link people strategy from organizational strategy.

I think this is where HR function needs to drive the business decision making in organizations as it’s not just about gearing up for the challenges which lie in the market for getting new business and staying ahead of competition but the real challenge of hiring, training, rewarding and retaining the best talent. Perhaps some of the industries face unique challenge as the business drivers are not the margin of profit or the volume of business but the quality of talent it has to execute its strategy.

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