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 fourth and final part of our 4-part change management series. Over to you Zubin!
Mastering HR-Led Transformations: The Crucial Role of Change Management
Part 4 – Embed
Embed: Ensuring HR Transformations Stick
Hello! Zubin here, and I’m back for the final installment in our Mastering HR-Led Transformations series. Today, we’re diving deep into the Embed phase—the secret sauce to ensuring your HR transformations not only take hold but continue delivering value in the long run.
If you’re just joining us, you can get caught up on the first three articles in this series here. To quickly recap:
In the first article we discussed the Analyze phase. It focuses on assessing the current state, identifying stakeholders, evaluating organizational readiness and developing a high-level change plan. Activities include stakeholder analysis, change impact assessment and organizational culture mapping.
The second article explained the Build phase, which involves constructing the detailed change management implementation plan. Key steps include finalizing the impact assessment, developing communications and training materials, and compiling the comprehensive change management plan.
Part three explained the Execute phase and the actions needed to effectively roll out the change plan through readiness checks, training refinement, performance tracking and ongoing support.
In this final article, we will dive into the Embed phase, which focuses on sustaining change over the long term and fully integrating the transformation into the organizational culture.
This is the fourth and final part of a 4-part series! Want to learn more about change management?
Change Management Framework Review
Before getting into the Embed phase, let’s review the change management 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 Embed phase, with the other phases covered in previous articles.
- Analyze Phase. Key activities include a stakeholder analysis, organizational readiness assessment, change impact assessment, culture map, and high-level communications, training and adoption plan.
- Build Phase. Key activities include identifying skill gaps, creating a comprehensive change plan, assessing the change’s impact, and success metrics.
- Execute Phase. Key actions involve conducting a readiness assessment, refining training materials, defining performance metrics and delivering a support framework.
- Embed Phase. 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.
The Challenge: Why Making Change Stick Is Crucial
It’s not enough to simply implement new HR practices; they must be internalized, sustained, and consistently adopted by the entire organization. Often, organizations fall into the trap of believing that once a new system is up and running, the job is done. But as we’ve previously discussed, embedding that change into the fabric of your organization is what ensures its longevity and success.
The Embed phase is the crucial last mile of any HR-led transformation. At Confirm, our goal in this phase is to ensure that the change sticks and becomes “business as usual” through ongoing measurement, employee engagement and organizational alignment.
For context, Confirm is an all-in-one people platform grounded in the science of organizational network analysis, making performance reviews fairer, faster, and simpler. (You can read more here.) At Confirm, we realized that while we had made champions out of those who bought the product, we had not 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 that we began engagements on the right foot and minimized time-to-value.
Without conscious efforts to embed the change, there is a risk that the organization reverts to old ways of operating. Research shows that 70 percent of transformations fail due to lack of ownership or sustained commitment.
The Embed phase enables HR leaders to lock in the transformation benefits and new high-performance habits. It focuses on continually assessing impact, celebrating wins and course-correcting as needed. The key is to embed the change into everyday workflows and processes, so it becomes an integrated part of the organizational culture.
The Confirm Approach: The Embed Phase
Having successfully executed your change strategy, the Embed phase is where you ensure your efforts are not in vain. The phase emphasizes:
- Continuous assessment and adjustments.
- Performance measurements against success criteria.
- Active monitoring of tool and system utilization.
- Celebrating successes and recognizing the champions of the change.
Best Practices for Ensuring Effective Change Embedment
1. Open and Transparent Communication
Just as in the initial phases of change, communication remains a pillar of success. It’s vital to keep the entire organization informed about the progress, successes, challenges and future steps.
2. Employee Involvement and Engagement
Sustain the momentum by keeping employees engaged. Continue to solicit feedback and, importantly, act on it. Acknowledge the contributions of those who have championed the change.
3. Leadership Commitment
Visible and vocal commitment from leadership is vital to reinforce the change. Leaders connecting transformation goals to organizational strategy confirms alignment. Publicly celebrating wins maintains momentum.
4. Performance Measurement
Regularly assessing progress against defined success metrics provides insight into what’s working well and what needs adjustment. KPI tracking enables data-driven decisions on refinements.
5. Embedding into Workflows
Integrating the change into core processes, training programs and performance management systems hardwires it into everyday work. This embeds new behaviors and ways of operating.
6. Recognizing and Rewarding
Linking rewards and recognition to transformation objectives reinforces adoption of the change. Celebrating employee success stories creates momentum and motivation to sustain new practices.
7. Ongoing Support
Providing ongoing training, help resources and access to experts ensures employees get assistance adapting to the change. This facilitates proficiency in new skills and processes.
8. Regular Monitoring and Adjustment of the Change Process
Leverage Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) to track how well the transformation is being embedded in daily processes. Questions such as “Who do you go to for help and advice?” and “Who do you believe needs additional support or attention?” can provide invaluable insights.
Case Studies: Successful HR Transformations with Change Management
Company A: Streamlining HR Processes
Scenario: A retail corporation implemented new digital HR workflows to improve efficiency. The Execute phase went well, with 95 percent of staff transitioning to the new paperless processes. However, legacy habits persisted, with some continuing to rely on previous manual and paper-based processes.
Embed approach: The HR team analyzed adoption metrics by department, identifying laggards. Refresher training and peer support addressed knowledge gaps. KPI targets were set for utilization of the new workflows. Leaders publicly praised teams that were above target to motivate others. Rewards such as gift cards were given for reaching objectives. These efforts drove utilization of the digital workflows to over 90 percent across all departments.
Company B: Implementing a New Performance Management System
Scenario: A technology company recognized the flaws in its old performance review system, especially with the revelation that a large percentage of employee ratings were biased. It embarked on a transformation journey, incorporating ONA into its new performance management system. After launch, data showed uneven adoption, with usage lagging among middle managers.
Embed approach: Targeted training upskilled managers on the new system. Regular town halls reinforced how the system improved performance insights. Managers who effectively adopted the tool were recognized by leadership. ONA identified “quiet contributors,” celebrating and recognizing their invaluable contributions. Ongoing monitoring showed adoption rates steadily improving. Within six months, over 90 percent of managers were using the system to make better talent decisions.
Making change stick is the linchpin of any HR transformation. Properly embedding change ensures that organizations reap the benefits of their transformation efforts sustainably. The Embed phase sustains HR transformations through ongoing measurement, refinement, leadership commitment, and embedding change into organizational culture and workflows.
A few key insights to drive successful embedding of HR transformations:
- Communicate continuously to reinforce the “why” behind the change.
- Engage employees through ongoing feedback and participation opportunities.
- Maintain leadership commitment through modeling new behaviors and celebrating wins.
- Rigorously track KPIs to guide refinements and drive accountability.
- Hardwire change into core processes and workflows to make it “business as usual.”
- Provide ongoing training, resources and support to facilitate employee adoption.
The four-phase change management approach provides a structured framework to drive successful HR transformations. Assessing readiness, detailed planning, effective execution and deliberate embedding ensures change sticks.
If you’re considering HR transformation, we’re here to help.
With world-class expertise, Confirm’s change management team ensures that you navigate these waters seamlessly. Take your first step toward a holistic HR transformation by booking a free consultation with us. We’ll assess your current performance management process, identify gaps for improvement and provide actionable recommendations.
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.