Human Resource Management

7 Steps for HR to Create a Change Management Strategy

By on December 24, 2022

Change is the only constant, and the speed at which changes are happening to how we work – requires a management strategy that enables employees to work harmoniously despite the difference in time zones. HR Strategy focused on change management can empower organizations to move forward without stutters, along with the market needs. 

Establishing an effective change management strategy requires buy-in from the organization’s leaders and is essential to iron out the wrinkles that flare up during the transition. Change managers, in association with their HR counterparts, can play an integral role in helping the organization adapt to the pace of change.

The need for change management

Implementing change management involves continuously creating plans, implementing them, and managing change at an organizational level. The nature of the change can be big or small, but the aim of the change management process remains the same: reduce disruption to everyday work as much as possible. Technology, strategy, and procedures are some areas that go through constant change, and careful planning is necessary to keep the business-critical services up and running. Mergers, acquisitions, outsourcing, etc., provide unique challenges that need to be handled on a case-by-case basis. The process can be beneficial on many fronts:

  • Improve employee retention during the change and after
  • Keep all stakeholders in the loop
  • Enable individuals, teams, and departments with personalized training and mentorship

HR professionals facilitate these activities and play an essential role in bringing the need for organizational change to employees. Having them on board from the beginning of the change management process allows for a smoother employee-organization understanding.

The need for HR in change management

The more significant the shift, the more critical the involvement of HR becomes – as they can plan upskilling and reskilling processes without delay. Essential HR skills are responsible for employee well-being, and this involves providing them with a clear understanding of the change. They also address employee concerns during the transition and serve as a conduit between employees and their organization’s leaders. With proper notice, HR teams can also plan using specialized tools for collaboration and information exchange and help teams get on the same page faster.

Essential considerations for change management

Companies that effectively involve HR in change management can gain considerable advantages by removing employee uncertainty. Their efforts keep productivity levels up, and lead to a systematic, proactive approach:

Considerations for change management

1.Create an interactive org chart

Organizational chart tools provide a simple way to create and display the structure, where individual employee working relationships and responsibilities can be instantly visualized. An organizational chart provides HR teams a way to help leaders understand the number of employees working at the organization and in what capacities. An up-to-date org chart also makes it easy to determine the changes required during restructuring/change. 

2. Scale employee responsibilities gradually and consistently

The lack of understanding of duties reaches a fervor during change, and an effective change management process removes doubts to a great extent. Constantly evaluating employee responsibilities and adjusting them when change is necessary requires communication from HR professionals. They work with individual employees and identify the changes to be made. From changing titles and roles, they also look for new talent to meet more unique needs.

3. Enable managers to instill systematic change

The data from the last two steps give HR teams a concrete idea about how the change will affect employees. They can coordinate with managers and other leaders to communicate the difference in a structured way. The approach can be streamlined, and employees can better understand their new roles and responsibilities.

4. Inculcate change in the organizational culture

The last step of an effective change management cycle is establishing a solid base for the following change. HR teams can sustain and reinforce that change by staying up to date.

Timely retirement of outdated policies and procedures, tools that provide a clearer picture, and other steps ensure teams are ready to face the market’s needs at a moment’s notice. 

Establishing a learning culture promotes growth at organizational and individual employee levels. Creating central hubs for managing documents and training can improve employee retention rates, too, as a concrete training structure shows employees that the organization is invested in their development and well-being. By promoting personalized growth paths, HR executives can create a culture where overall growth is central to the company culture. 

7 Steps that lead to an excellent HR change management strategy

Effectiveness is essential in managing change, especially when business processes continue functioning as the changes happen. As organizational change management involves everyone, the onus is on HR teams to assist other departments in ensuring the success of the overall effort. Harvard Business Review details the challenges of organizational change and highlights why some change efforts fail. The results mainly indicate a lack of involvement, which can be attributed to a lack of communication.

7 Steps to create HR change management strategy
  1. Define the change: The first step in creating a change management strategy is clearly defining the change being implemented. This could change the organization’s structure, processes, or technology.
  2. Identify stakeholders: The next step is to identify all stakeholders affected by the change. This could include employees, customers, suppliers, and other external parties.
  3. Assess the impact of the change: Once the stakeholders have been identified, HR should assess the impact of the change on each group. This will help identify potential challenges and areas of resistance that may need to be addressed.
  4. Develop a communication plan: HR should develop a comprehensive communication plan that outlines how the change will be communicated to stakeholders and how their feedback will be collected and incorporated into the change management process.
  5. Train employees: HR should develop and implement a training plan to ensure that employees have the skills and knowledge they need to implement the change successfully.
  6. Monitor and adjust the change management strategy: As the change is implemented, HR should monitor its progress and adjust the change management strategy as needed to ensure that it is effective.
  7. Celebrate successes: Finally, HR should celebrate successes and recognize the contributions of employees who have helped to implement the change successfully. This will help to build morale and support for future change management initiatives.

How can HR guide the change management process?

Any process involving change will have certain aspects that are not agreeable – and in the case of organizational change, it is the employees who get affected. Significant changes can result in friction between employees or teams, and HR professionals are best equipped to deal with such issues. HR teams help the need for change be communicated to employees and carry out conflict resolution if necessary. They can also help fill the knowledge gaps during a shift by hiring new employees and suggesting transfers based on employee strengths and capabilities. Their understanding of the current skill level also puts them in a great position to identify areas that employees need to upskill or reskill on to meet the new expectations. Their expertise comes in handy while creating informational reference documents and internal communications explaining  benefits of the change undertaken.

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