Change Management and HR in the Digital Age

August 11, 2017
Change Management

In the digital era, the quote “Change is the only constant” is no more a cliché but the need of the hour. Contemporary practices like DevOps, Agile, Continuous delivery, Kaizen etc. demand change alongside technology advancements and it is imperative that humans evolve in order to stay relevant. Change should be an organization wide phenomenon to bring a holistic improvement in the overall functioning and hence it is essential that there is a unanimous acceptance of change.

But managing change is easier said than done. There are various challenges posed in Change Implementation by various factors like the technological inability, rigid business processes, failure of integration of technology with the social and strategic components, issue of change navigation and so on.

Though there is a widespread acceptance of technology in terms of smartphones and Social Media, employees tend to resist the technological changes that are meant for their greater good. This is because of the orthodox mindset (or the movies that showcases Robots and Automation Machines as Mass Murderers) that falsely depict automation as a threat to their jobs. And instead of admitting to their fears and job insecurities, they put up strong resistance and a mindset of “We will not change because this is the way how we do things”.

Thus, it is essential that HR Professionals take charge as change agents and play a vital role in implementing it effectively. To understand how HR professionals go about doing this, let’s explore the roles they play at each stage of Change Management and how they partner with technology to ensure the effective implementation of Change:

Role of Human Resource Professionals at each stage of the Three Stage Change Theory by Kurt Lewin:

1. Unfreeze- “Ensuring readiness to Change”:

Identifying rules and policies that employees become habituated to and follow them without questioning the legitimacy of such practices is typically the first task. After identifying such practices, they need to create strategies to help employees unlearn those habits and gain a better perspective in their day-to-day operations. To better identify such habits and practices, various approaches like Group Discussions, Observational studies, Behavioral Study etc. are undertaken.

For effective identification of such habits, HR professionals can use HRINNOVA’s Training & Development Module to plot and conduct training strategies.

2. Change- “Implementation Stage”:

The second stage of Change model is the implementation of change. But change cannot be implemented overnight, there is a transition period required for effective implementation of change. As it is rightly said that “All Great Changes Are Preceded by Chaos”, the task of the HR is to manage the chaos. They need to identify the deviation in the performance of the employees who may feel burdened by the new processes.

HR can identify such employees through a comprehensive Performance Management System and provide one-to-one counselling to help them cope with the change.

3. Freeze- “Stick to the Change”

Organizational change can become effective only when it is made permanent. Thus, HR professionals need to make necessary changes in the Organizational processes and hierarchies and then cement them by making it a norm or a regulation. By refreezing the change, HR professionals can help employees thrive in the new organization and can enable them to take maximum benefit of the change.

One important aspect organizations miss out on is that the HR and Top Management are also humans and they themselves may resist and dread change. For an effective implementation of change, it is essential that top level executives are the Flag bearers and they not only endorse the change, but also believe in the benefits that the change will yield.

In this fast paced digital world, even change needs to be agile, it is essential that organization partners HR professional with robust and scalable HR Solution that can help HR professionals keep up with the complexities and growth pressure. Implementing Change and making it effective is not an easy task. But with right moves taken at the right time, the change agents can help employ organizational change with minimal contingencies.

Technology is just an enabler, a mere bridge to help your mind cross the barriers. The change must come from within. We have a tendency to embrace technology in our personal lives but when it comes to workplace, our mind conveniently ignores the logic and apprehensions start consuming us. False and baseless notions must make way for smart and simple ideas. We must develop a myriad vision to tackle problems and that’s evolution in its truest form.

Change Management and HR in the Digital Age

August 11, 2017

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