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Management of Change: Human Resource

management of change hrOur Management of Change series culminates with this final and very important piece.  In discussing change management, one concept keeps bubbling to the surface as the very keystone of change, the very bedrock upon change is founded … the people.  And who better to understand, to nurture, and to create an environment where change is embraced than Human Resources.

The People

Organizations are too often considered a maelstrom of things like spreadsheets, market positioning, business offerings, and business process tools.  But in reality, organizations are truly the embodiment of the people who work there.  Each individual is both 1) a distinct, individual working personality and 2) a significant piece of a whole.  And because the leaders of organizations recognize the importance of people, the human resource function plays a vital role.  Inc.com tells us: 

Essentially, the purpose of HRM

is to maximize the productivity of an organization

by optimizing the effectiveness of its employees.

The key of this definition to note:  in order to continually “maximize productivity” and employee effectiveness, the organization, i.e. the people as representatives of the organization need to embrace change.  

The Method

How? - that’s the big question that keeps coming up.  How do HR professionals help engender a culture that accepts and supports change?  It really comes down to two steps:

1) Hire the right people

One of the main jobs of HR is hiring the right people for their organization:  people who will pick up the banner and personify all that their organization holds dear including an understanding that change is inevitable and good. 

2) Know your employees

But it’s not just getting the right people in the door, it’s knowing those very employees: recognizing their strengths, understanding their weaknesses, and appreciating both.  No one should hire employees who aren’t good at their jobs or who don’t feel good about doing them.  HR, then, must contribute to identifying and taking advantage of their employees’ strengths, so that employees are comfortable in their ability to contribute and are trusting that their leadership sees and values them.   People resist change for a variety of reasons but high among them are a) change is too hard, and b) they are afraid.  But where employees are valued and have trust in their leadership, companies can create a stimulating environment where change is welcomed.  

The Change

We have discussed that the very backbone of every organization is the people, the right people recognized and valued for who they are and what they are good at.  With change, leaders tend to

… focus their attention on devising the best strategic and tactical plans. But to succeed, they also must have an intimate understanding of the human side of change management — the alignment of the company’s culture, values, people, and behaviors — to encourage the desired results. Plans themselves do not capture value; value is realized only through the sustained, collective actions of the thousands — perhaps the tens of thousands — of employees who are responsible for designing, executing, and living with the changed environment.” 

In every company, HR’s role is to function as the “grease” if you will between the goals of the organization and how the people in the organization contribute to achieving those goals.  According to Changeboard.com, a Global HR Community, the four primary HR roles in change are

• Change leader/owner, taking full responsibility for the planning and implementation of their own change project.

• Change educator, bringing specialist knowledge and expertise to help [people] understand more about the structure and process of successfully managing change.

• Change advisor, working with [people] directly through the process of designing and implementing change, challenging and guiding them to get it right.

• Change participant, being part of a change that affects them personally.

The End

It’s easy to make changes to spreadsheets, to goals, and to bottom lines.  But it’s hard to change people.  It’s hard unless you have the right combination of satisfied, challenged and valued employees and with the help of professional Human Resources organizations who are aware of their role, change can be easy … well, easier.


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