Human Resources Role...
By Hoda Nassef
Human Resources has many roles to play as a strategic business partner. HR managers are often called upon to oversee the change initiatives designed to get other managers and employees side by side with an organization’s business goals.
Change management is one of the most difficult and the most important tasks facing Human Resources. The key is to pursue a step-by-step approach where small changes build on each other. Effective communication, consistency, and a positive attitude towards change provide a solid foundation for attaining organizational change.
When dealing with change, there should be consistency in:
· words and behaviour,
· performance appraisals,
· promotion policies,
· subordinate actions, and
· organization structures.
A consistent message tells employees what to expect, as well as what they need to do, to make the company successful. A positive attitude towards change can be created through experience, team building retreats, strategic planning sessions, focus groups, or interactive workshops with management.
Reasons for failure include:
· Inconsistencies between management’s words and their actions;
· No system to evaluate the change and what it is to accomplish;
· No change in compensation, performance appraisal, information, or organization systems;
· Management by ‘best seller’;
· Unrealistic time goals for change; and
· The assumption that training is all that is needed for change to take place.
Identifying opportunities for improvement:
1. Keep up to date with developments in your sector – make sure you get valid relevant, reliable information from various sources on developments in materials, equipment, technology and processes.
2. Consider the importance of these developments to your organization – carry out a regular review of developments and analyze their significance to your organization.
3. Pass information on developments to the appropriate people – if you think it is important, make sure your colleagues, members of your team and senior managers, are aware of its significance.
4. Identify opportunities for improvements – use information on developments to identify opportunities in quality.
5. Monitor and evaluate your operations continuously – always look for areas where improvements can be made and take appropriate action.
6. Identify any obstacles to change – take appropriate measures to alleviate any problems that may prevent improvements being made.
Assessing the pros and cons of change:
· Get complete and accurate information – make sure you have sufficient, reliable information on current and proposed services, as well as products and systems, to allow you to make a reliable assessment.
· Compare the advantages and disadvantages – use qualitative and quantitative techniques to assess the pros and cons of current and proposed services, products and systems.
· Assess the implications of introducing changes – changes may affect cash flow, working practices and conditions, health and safety, team morale, supply and distribution networks, and customer loyalty; anticipate and assess the likely effect of changes.
· Take into account previous assessments of introducing change – look at how realistic previous assessments turned out to be and use these to modify your current assessment.
· Present your recommendations to the appropriate people – make your recommendations to senior managers or specialists in a way that helps them make a decision and in time to allow the decision to be put into effect.
· Amend your recommendations in the light of responses – make appropriate alterations to your recommendations on the bases of the responses you get from senior managers and specialists.
1. Provide clear and accurate information – let those affected know about the proposed change in time for them to prepare effectively.
2. Get people involved – give people the chance to comment on the proposed change and help in the planning.
3. Make the case for change – give a clear and convincing rationale for the change and support this with sound evidence.
4. Identify potential obstacles to change, and find effective ways of avoiding or overcoming these obstacles.
5. Develop a detailed plan, including:
- the rationale
- the aim and objectives of the change
- how it will be implemented
- who will be involved and their individual roles
- the resources required
- the time scale
- how the plan will be monitored
- how you will know that the change has been successful.
Negotiating and agreeing on the introduction of change:
1. Present plans on projected change – communicate the changes and the anticipated benefits for your organization and for individuals, to team members, colleagues, senior managers, and others, in order to gain their support.
2. Conduct negotiations in a spirit of goodwill – make sure you retain people’s support and find mutually acceptable ways of settling any disputes.
3. Make compromises where appropriate – it may be necessary to make compromises to accommodate other priorities, but make sure these compromises are consistent with your organization’s strategy, objectives and practices.
4. Reach an agreement in line with your organization’s strategy, and revise your implementation plans accordingly.
5. Keep records of negotiations and agreements – make sure your records are complete and accurate and that they are available for others to refer to if necessary.
6. Where you could not secure the changes you anticipated, tell those affected in a positive manner – sometimes you are disappointed in not being able to obtain the changes you wanted due to other organizational priorities; explain the reasons for this in a way which maintains people’s morale and motivation.
7. Encourage all relevant people to understand and participate in the changes – explain the changes and their effects to people, and gain their support.
Finally, implementing and evaluating changes:
- Present details of implementation plans to all concerned – make sure that you brief everyone involved in or affected by the changes, and the possible impact on their area.
- Encourage people to seek clarification – check on their understanding of their role and encourage them to ask questions.
- Use resources in the most effective way – plan carefully so that you meet the new requirements as cost-effectively as possible.
- Maintain quality of work – ensure that work is maintained to a satisfactory standard during the period of change.