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?

1 comment:

Kevin Martin, i4cp said...

Hi Cathy. Thanks for talking about i4cp's research. I’m the chief research officer at the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and co-author of this particular study. I’m happy to provide clarity on a couple of questions you posed.

The data used in our “Critical Human Capital Issues 2013” research report was from organizations in the survey sample with more than 1,000 employees. Also, we use 5-year, self-reported growth trends across four dependent variables to determine High-Performing Organizations (HPOs) and Low-Performing Organizations (LPOs): Market Share, Revenue Growth, Profit Growth, and Customer Satisfaction. The top 25% of organizations across these four variables are grouped as HPOs and the lowest 25% of organizations across those four variables are grouped as LPOs.

While the emphasis on "change" is undeniable, what this is really getting at is the importance of organizational agility. What I found especially interesting from the research is how HPOs are pursuing agility via two primary means: 1. Planning, specifically strategic workforce planning. They know that they must understand where the business is heading in 3-5 years as well as the job roles that are critical to achieving their objectives; and 2) Preparing the business to be better at managing its talent as well as enabling it to make better talent decisions. They are focused on equipping frontline leaders with the skills, processes, and accountability to develop talent, especially for those critical job roles. They are also focused on using data (HR and business data) and analytics to alert the business leaders to potential risks and opportunities within their respective businesses.

High-performing organizations still have a long way to go. However, their focus on being “change-ready organizations” will continue to strengthen and the performance gap between them and low-performing organizations will continue to widen over the coming year unless LPOs gain much needed clarity on the business strategy and how the human capital equation fits into it.

I hope this helps.