Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Change, Change, Change; Change is Brewing

I read a report last week from i4cp. (Institute for Corporate Performance).  The white paper was very interesting, they surveyed over 313 respondents on what the critical Human Capital issues are for 2013.

You can download the entire report here.  (they do ask for some basic info but well worth it!)

They did the best infographic on the data:


The one theme that I thought was so interesting was how frequent the element of change was mentioned (3 of the top ten issues) and how "Managing organizational change" was on top of the list for high performing organizations.

Of course when I see reports/data like this I have a bunch of follow up questions like, who was surveyed (title), what determines a high performing organization, etc.

I began to think about organizations that we have worked with over the years, and what made those organizations manage change effectively.  If I think about the most effective characteristics they are:

1) Communication plan-successful change happens when everyone knows what the change is, WHY the change is occurring and how they are being impacted by the change.  This communication takes work.  It is not a one time, "send out an email" kind of communication.  It is continued and uses various communication mediums.

2) Leadership is available and accessible-Often times leaders pass off the change to middle managers.  That "pass off" is fine, however, middle managers need to understand how to communicate the change to their direct reports.  Leadership has to make sure they are visible and are a part of #1 above

3) Change is monitored-When goals and objectives are set up front and then they are monitored throughout the change process then corrections can be made and more importantly SUCCESSES can be celebrated.

4) Change is embraced-It takes some employees longer than others to get on board with change and that is ok.  The problem arises when we have employees that are stuck in "this is the way we used to do it."  Managing these resistors is critical as they can stall a change effort.  Sometimes, we have to make hard decisions when employees cannot make the transition.

5) Change becomes a part of the organizational DNA-Let's face it, change is not going away.  I will argue it is the new normal.  With all the external forces that organizations are dealing with today, business is complex.  Successful companies have to be able to change on a dime in reaction to those external drivers.  By "making change normal: in the organization, employees learn how to manage through it as long as they have all the information they need to move forward.

The above list is not exhaustive, what are some other characteristics that make companies successful with change?  What do you feel HR's role is in all of this?

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