Before we begin…
Welcome to our brand new SHRMLabs newsletter. We are expanding our resources to bring you the best possible information from leaders in HR technology and transformation. The SHRMLabs team is very excited to share this with you and please feel free to share your thoughts with us here.
My name is Trevor Schachner, Product Manager and Workplace Innovation Specialist at SHRMLabs. You will hear from me as well as my colleagues every other week with the release of each new edition. I’m excited to introduce Zubin Davar, our contributor for the second part of our 4-part change management series. Over to you Zubin!
Mastering HR-Led Transformations: The Crucial Role of Change Management
Part 2 – Build
Hi, it’s Zubin from Confirm. I head up Global Customer Success and Transformation, which includes our Change Management practice that helps HR leaders transition to superior performance and talent management solutions. Last time, we talked about how change management helps HR drive important changes. Let’s recap:
- Change management is a critical process that guides organizations from one state to another (e.g., moving from one technology platform to another), with the ultimate goal of achieving desired outcomes.
- While it involves structured processes and tools, its true essence lies in winning the hearts and minds of people undergoing change, especially in HR transformations.
- Change management, in the HR context, is vital for mitigating resistance and fear, enhancing employee engagement, minimizing disruptions, maximizing return on investment (ROI), optimizing communication, achieving cultural alignment, and supporting skill development.
- The building blocks of effective change management in HR transformation include: emphasizing the importance of recognizing the need for change, setting clear goals and objectives, developing a well-defined strategy, ensuring effective communication, and conducting a comprehensive analysis of the current state.
- The first part of Confirm’s innovative change management approach is the “Analyze” phase, which includes stakeholder analysis, organizational readiness assessment, change impact assessment, culture mapping, and a high-level communication, training and adoption plan.
- Change management is the linchpin for success in navigating the complex journey of organizational transformation in today’s evolving business landscape.
This is part 2 of a 4-part series! Want to learn more about change management?
Change Management Framework Review
Before getting into the “Build” phase, let’s review the framework.
Confirm’s approach includes four core phases: “Analyze,” “Build,” “Execute” and “Embed.” Below is a high-level overview of each phase. The remainder of this article will focus on the “Build” phase, with the other phases covered in subsequent articles.
Analyze: key activities include a stakeholder analysis, organizational readiness assessment, change impact assessment, culture map, and high-level communications, training and adoption plan.
Build: key activities include identifying skills gaps, creating a comprehensive change plan, assessing the change’s impact and establishing success metrics.
Execute: key actions involve conducting a readiness assessment, refining training materials, defining performance metrics and delivering a support framework.
Embed: activities involve continuous assessment, performance measurement, success criteria evaluation, utilization monitoring, and recognition to ensure the change is effectively integrated and sustained within the organization.
Change Management Process in Human Resources Transformations
Designing the new HR framework and processes
New tools and systems often encounter resistance from employees worried about change and the potential impact on their roles. Moreover, overcoming fears about acquiring new skills is hard.
To navigate these hurdles, design the implementation process to be finely attuned to the “psychology of the organization.” This involves understanding cultural dynamics, fostering transparent and open communication channels, engaging stakeholders at every level of the organization, and developing comprehensive training programs that address skill gaps. By proactively accounting for these natural challenges, the redesigned HR framework not only facilitates the seamless adoption of new technologies but also ensures that employee morale and engagement remain high, enabling a more harmonious transition toward the envisioned future state.
Minimizing resistance to change
We encourage HR professionals to proactively identify and address potential pockets of resistance within their organization when implementing transformative HR tools or processes. Understanding that resistance can manifest in various forms, from employees fearing uncertainty to concerns about job security, the key is to conduct a thorough stakeholder analysis. This analysis helps pinpoint the specific individuals or groups most likely to resist the changes, allowing HR to tailor their change management strategies accordingly. Leveraging change management techniques, such as transparent and consistent communication, active engagement with employees, and offering support in adapting to new technologies or processes, becomes crucial in minimizing resistance.
By taking a proactive and empathetic approach to addressing resistance, HR can effectively pave the way for a smoother transition, ensuring that employees become champions of the change rather than obstacles, ultimately leading to the successful implementation of the new HR framework and processes.
Facilitating employee engagement and buy-in
Engaging employees during the change management process design is pivotal. To secure buy-in, HR must involve employees from the beginning, seeking their input and addressing their concerns. Tactics such as forming cross-functional task forces, conducting focus groups, and providing opportunities for employees to participate in the design process can foster a sense of ownership and involvement.
Furthermore, sharing success stories and tangible benefits achieved by early adopters can inspire others to embrace change. For instance, showcasing how the new technology streamlines HR processes or empowers employees to take control of their career development can significantly boost buy-in. By actively engaging employees and making them an integral part of the change journey, HR can create a culture of enthusiasm, ultimately driving the successful transformation of HR practices and fostering a workplace where innovation and growth flourish.
Mitigating risks and challenges
The significance of proactive risk assessment and strategic planning to ensure a smooth rollout of your change management plan can’t be underscored enough. HR must anticipate potential obstacles that can impede the adoption of its desired future state. For instance, if introducing a new, sophisticated HR software system, the risk of technical glitches or data security breaches should be considered.
To prepare for these challenges, HR should have contingency plans in place, offer comprehensive training to mitigate skills gaps, and establish clear protocols for handling technical issues. Additionally, economic downturns or external factors can disrupt change efforts, underscoring the importance of flexibility in the change management process. By thoroughly identifying and addressing risks and challenges through thoughtful design and contingency planning, HR can bolster the chances of a successful transition, ensuring that the organization is well prepared to navigate unforeseen hurdles in the pursuit of HR transformation.
Confirm’s Approach to Change Management + Adoption (Build Phase)
This section will dive into the “Build” phase of Confirm’s change management process, which is truly innovative. For context, Confirm is an all-in-one people platform grounded in the science of organizational network analysis (you can read more about them here). At Confirm, we realized that while we had made champions out of those who bought the product, we hadn’t thought of a scalable way to bring every single employee and executive along on the same journey the buyers had gone through. This led to suboptimal adoption, uneven views of value and resistance to change. Change management allowed us to bring people along on the journey, at scale, ensuring we minimized time-to-value and began engagements on the right foot.
The “Build” phase marks the second step in the change management process. This phase involves constructing the change management implementation plan that will ultimately be approved and rolled out. Some of the key tools and approaches used during this phase include:
Deliver an Impact Assessment
An Impact Assessment enables organizations to comprehensively understand the potential effects of proposed changes. After the assessment begins, the following actions are conducted:
- HR shares and gains final buy-in on readiness and risk assessments, ensuring that all stakeholders are aligned and informed about the transformation’s implications.
- The stakeholder analysis is finalized and validated to define roles and responsibilities clearly, streamlining the change process.
- Change agents are strategically deployed across three user groups to champion the transformation, facilitating its acceptance among employees.
- A detailed Change Impact Assessment is completed, offering insights into the impact on processes, technologies, and people and guiding the development of effective change strategies. Together, these actions empower organizations to navigate change with precision, fostering a successful HR transformation.
Develop Detailed Communications
Now is the time to begin building communications that will be deployed as part of the new technology’s rollout. These could include launch communications, FAQ guides, workshop session slides, infographics, notices, reminders and more. The following steps collectively create a well-coordinated and transparent communication plan, enhancing the likelihood of successful change adoption across the organization:
- HR validates and aligns all content and communications channel access with sponsors and user groups, ensuring that the messaging is consistent and reaches the right audience.
- Content and communication timelines are developed, providing a structured plan for disseminating information and updates throughout the transformation process.
- The communications strategy is further validated through collaboration with the core team, sponsors and the leadership team, ensuring that all stakeholders are in sync and informed about the HR transformation efforts.
Develop Detailed Training
It’s now time to build out the training(s) that will support adoption of your new technology, ensuring employees have the necessary skills to navigate the transformation. By following these steps, organizations can empower their employees to embrace change confidently:
- Identify training and development needs by assessing skills gaps and understanding the competencies required for the new HR framework and processes.
- Create a comprehensive training and support plan that outlines the training objectives, methods and timelines.
- Develop training materials tailored to the specific needs of the workforce, encompassing digital resources, workshops or e-learning modules.
- Rigorously validate and demonstrate the training materials to ensure they align with the organization’s objectives and effectively address the identified skill gaps.
The Change Management Plan
The culmination of the previous steps results in the development of a comprehensive Change Management Plan. This plan serves as the road map to guide the organization through its HR transformation. In addition to the above, it also incorporates:
- Key performance indicators (KPIs) to effectively track progress and gauge the success of the change efforts.
- Strategies to anticipate and manage resistance, ensuring that potential obstacles are proactively addressed.
- A user adoption plan, detailing all activities, timelines and responsibilities, thereby providing a clear and structured approach to implementing the HR transformation.
This holistic Change Management Plan is an invaluable tool, enabling organizations to navigate change with precision, maximize employee engagement and achieve successful HR transformations.
We’ve provided a deeper dive into how you can begin to operationalize what you learned in the “Analyze” phase toward building a change management plan leading to a successful transformation. From recognizing the importance of change management in achieving desired outcomes to navigating resistance, fostering employee engagement, and mitigating risks, we’ve delved into the intricacies of each of these vital steps. The “Build” phase of Confirm’s change management approach, which focuses on delivering an impact assessment, developing detailed communications, and creating comprehensive training programs, has highlighted crucial building blocks in preparing for the next phase: “Execute.” In the upcoming article, we will explore the “Execute” phase in depth, covering actions related to readiness assessment, training material refinement, performance metrics definition and support framework delivery. Stay tuned for more insights on mastering HR-led transformations!
Thank you for joining us for this edition of the SHRMLabs WorkplaceTech Pulse! And thanks to Zubin and the Confirm team for their contributions and expertise on the topic of change management. Please click the link below to learn more about Confirm and the great work they are doing around performance management. We will see you next time!
Confirm is the first platform to inject science into performance reviews, ensuring advancement is based on data, not company politics. Grounded in the science of organizational network analysis (ONA), Confirm quantifies employee influence and impact, and gives leaders clear visibility into who they can’t afford to lose.