HR as Change Architect: Is Your Organization Ready for Change?
Change is constant in business. Yet, 70 percent of organizational change initiatives fail, and only 25 percent of organizations are able to sustain long-term gains from change management initiatives. Clearly, there’s an opportunity to rethink how we manage change – and HR is uniquely positioned to lead the way.
We start by recognizing that we are operating in a more complex environment of change today than ever before. Change today is a constant, not an event. When identifying “change” in our businesses, we must consider two types:
Thunderbolt Organizational Changes vs. an Environment of Change
“Thunderbolt” organizational changes are event-driven, can arise quickly, require organizational mobilization and concrete planning, and have a profound, lasting impact on an organization. Examples include:
- M&A activity
- Influx of capital investments
- Bankruptcy reorganization
- Talent flight
- Organizational transformation efforts
Not to be ignored, however, is the impact of more subtle everyday business factors and market conditions that create an environment of continual change. These factors can cause and exacerbate larger-scale thunderbolt changes, and must be addressed and managed in their own right. Examples include:
- Multi-generational workforce
- Evolving needs of talent
- Increased market competition
- Economic forces
Successful change management today isn’t just about managing specific, targeted change efforts, but rather anticipating and leveraging this environment of continual change to create sustainable organizational success.
Assessing Your Organization’s Change Readiness
With your holistic view on the business, HR is able to bring a unique and necessary perspective to change management - considering not only operational and strategic readiness of the organization, but also cultural readiness and the ways that culture may need to shift or change to support change. Moreover, HR with its insights into the key people issues impacted by change, including engagement, retention, structure, roles, and the effectiveness of work processes, can provide critical strategic direction and support to the organization in ensuring change is effective and sustainable.
To understand how well equipped your organization is to handle change, it’s important to conduct a holistic assessment of the business, organizational, and people factors that impact change. For a quick pulse check of your organization’s change readiness, ask yourself these questions:
- Do your leaders demonstrate a unified vision and values?
- Does your organization have a clearly articulated business strategy?
- Are top leaders aligned to the strategy?
- Is the business reaching its profitability goals?
- Is your culture aligned to the strategy and values of the organization?
- Is your operating model designed to support the business strategy?
- Is your organization structured to deliver results in an effective and efficient way?
- Do you have the right people in the right roles?
- Does your organization have a clearly articulated talent strategy?
- Are your leaders and teams aligned to deliver on business objectives?
- Are learning and development efforts ongoing and effective?
- Are employees engaged in their work?
Considering these factors will help you determine whether your organization needs to stabilize or better position itself before executing on a change initiative.
Are You Ready to Take Charge of Change?
As an HR leader, you have your finger on the pulse of all aspects of your organization, and bring the business acumen necessary to identify strengths and vulnerabilities. You have the insights, opportunity, and responsibility to architect sustainable change for both your organization and your employees.
Is your HR team ready to take the lead? To prepare and position your HR function to take a leadership role in organizational change, join us for our upcoming HCI webcast, HR as Change Architect: Preparing Your HR Team for Strategic Leadership