The Strategic Role of HR: Managing Whole System Transformation
As organisations of all kinds face unprecedented changes in their internal and external environment, change efforts are increasingly sought after in order to maintain competitiveness, foster innovation, flatten hierarchies, and develop a resilient/learning culture. The need to anticipate and manage change has grown parallel to the evolving role of HR, which, more than ever is devoted to championing change and the overarching discipline for change management strategies: organizational development.
Consciously helping to create the right organization culture, monitoring employee satisfaction, and facilitate the engagement of the whole workforce are the competences that today are expected in HR professionals.
The “history” of failed change efforts that so many organisations have experienced with mergers, restructuring, reengineering, etc. has emphasized clearly the need for HR to demonstrate ability to execute change successfully.
The most important contributions an HR professional can make in a change are:
- To consciously re-conceptualize the business an organization is in: its identity
- To deliberately address the whole system
- To enable people to work effectively as they plan, implement and experience change;
- To increase people’s ability to manage future change.
The Hay Group have identified change management as becoming increasingly important for organizations of the future. There are a few competences that HR shall master to become an effective Change Agent:
- developing a systemic awareness of the organization and its dynamics;
- diagnose the true performance issues that normally go below the surface and under the radar;
- build partnerships within the leadership team with mutual responsibility for the outcomes of the change effort;
- Make sure the vision is articulated, so that a clear direction enables employees to strive for something that is truly important to them;
- Set the leadership agenda, meaning defining the ongoing role for leaders in all the domains of the whole system;
- Tolerating and managing emotions, resistance, conflict and ambiguity: in a few words developing psychological maturity.
How is your HR department coping with taking the lead on whole system transformation?