How To Add Value in Continuing Strategic Change

Many companies go through major cultural and structural changes throughout their history. Interestingly, these changes are usually conceptualized, designed and implemented by top management officials, excluding the human resource director. Look at any major corporation's reorganization and restructuring initiatives and you will see the stamp of the chief executive officer and chief financial officer at work. Sadly, you will not see an input from the human resource director.

This is a sad situation indeed for human resource professionals because they can contribute a lot toward designing and implementing strategic change at the company. Today, human resource is not just about recruiting, hiring, training, and managing people. Human resource today is about making sure that the company achieves its goals and objectives through its people. For the human resource professional, the people create value that allows for organizational success. 

Given this, it would be a good idea and a wise decision to include your company's human resource professional in planning any strategic changed in the company. Whether it's moving from a centralized management structure to a decentralized one, or changing your firm's directive culture to a participative one, human resource can make the change a smoother process for everyone concerned. 

So in an environment of continuing strategic change, how can the human resource professional or department, for that matter, create value? Essentially, human resource can create value by managing employee resistance to change. It is unavoidable to encounter employees resisting any change in their work life, especially if the change to take effect is a drastic one. The role of the human resource department is to communicate the company's strategic objectives to the workforce and make sure that they feel onboard with any change that happens so that they will be less resistant to it.

There are many ways to align the company's strategic change plans with the workforce. One way is to follow the principles of Real Time Strategic Change. The first of its principles is real time. The human resource ought to convince the employees to act as if the future is now. If employees act as if they have been doing these processes for quite some time, it will make the change more bearable.

Another principle applicable to facilitating strategic change is community creation. Change brings out the worst and the best in employees. This would be a good time to foster a sense of community among the employees as they are embarking on an altered future. A community makes it easier for individual employees to face change because of shared experiences.

The principle of common understanding can also make continuing strategic change a smooth undertaking for all parties concerned. Under this principle, the human resource department makes sure that decisions affecting employees have gone through consultation. As in organizational sociology, employees are more accepting of change if they had a hand in planning it.

The principles mentioned above are just some ways to add value to continuing strategic change in organization. There are more out there, but the bottom line is that human resource can make change much easier for everyone in the firm.


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Transition planning may be useful, too. When the change is key to the organization, it should think about incentives.

By Mary Norton