Change Management for Human Resources Professionals
Written by Tim Creasey
"Our plant has been working on managing a ‘cultural change’ project. We have invested thousands of hours planning and developing the strategy. If we had the opportunity to attend Prosci’s ‘change management training’ and to use the tools provided in it before starting this project we could have cut the amount of time and money spent by at least 50%."
-Jose Gonzales, LEAR, Director of Human Resources
Based on Prosci’s best practices research, the top thing companies would do differently when implementing major process, system or cultural change was: utilize an effective and planned change management program.
Current research finds that change management, when not introduced at the beginning of a project, usually falls upon the HR department; they are stuck trying to make the project work. Project managers, team leaders and executives are notorious for forgetting about the "people side of change." The HR Department then becomes the sole advocate and only party dedicated to the "people side of change." They are invited in at the middle to end of a project in order to magically create peace from chaos.
Change management becomes exponentially more difficult the longer it is not addressed, but Prosci’s methodology makes it possible to assess damage control, make the best of a poorly planned situation and recoup late in the game. The key point for HR, as well as other parties involved, is the extreme importance of getting HR "a seat at the table" at the beginning of any large project; proactive change management makes everybody’s job easier and more successful. Once HR is present on a project (whether it is beginning, middle or end) they must know how to initiate and manage the people side of change. "Change management is the missing piece that takes good ideas and turns them into business success."
HR is the catalyst needed to introduce and implement change management at its most effective stage – the very beginning. It is important that HR understands change management and the ways to effectively utilize their resources.
How does HR go about introducing and building buy in for change management at the beginning of a project? It is essential that HR, first, understands change management and obtains the resources and information to be knowledgeable in the field. The most effective and productive way to get "a seat at the table" at the beginning of any project will require you to demonstrate the "WIIFM" to others. WIIFM stands for "What’s in it for me?" Utilizing change management as your strategy to answer these questions not only builds buy in to change management but it will ultimately get you "a seat at the table."
Why change management:
Without change management, projects experience employee and manager resistance. Research says the greatest obstacle to change management is "employee resistance." This resistance impacts the project team and its success. HR can play a vital role in managing resistance to change and helping the team succeed.
- Become comfortable and immersed in the field of change management
- Believe in the cause
- Introduce the field of change management, the people side, and clarify the definition. Make sure others know the difference between change management, the people side, and change management, IT
- Use best practices to show the importance of change management and what it can do for the success of a project (WIIFM)
- Be a resource by providing people with reading materials and allowing them time to ask questions