How to Manage Successful Change

This timeless quote from Heraclitus, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, says it all in simple terms.

“The only constant in life is change.”

In our HR world, the complexity and rate of change is compounded every year with significant disruptions across industries and business functions. A few drivers include new customer and employee expectations, technological advances, fierce competition from anywhere, and increasing skills-gaps in our organizations.

Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, recently shared his point of view with me about HR related changes.

“I believe HR’s biggest challenge in 2018 will be the shift from thinking about HR solutions to productivity. Organizations around the world are shifting their business models to digital, always-on, service-centric customer solutions, and this is forcing companies to flatten the organization, create more dynamic roles, and reskill people faster than ever. HR’s role in all this is to design and facilitate productive people practices that make the ‘digital business organization’ work. This is quite a change from traditional HR thinking.”

[bctt tweet=”HR’s role is to design & facilitate people practices that make the digital business org. work” username=”Josh_Bersin”]

Bersin is spot on and I recently discussed how to manage successful change with Rachel Ernst, Head of Employee Success at Reflektive. Ernst is presenting at the Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Conference 2018 on Thursday, February 1st in a Tech Talk about this business-critical topic. Here’s a summary of her Tech Talk presentation:

Performance Management Change Insights from Reflektive

One advantage of collaborating with Rachel when thinking about managing successful change is she’s an innovative HR leader, active user of Reflektive’s real-time performance management platform, and peer-advisor for Reflektive customers.

Two questions that ideally precede any change management initiative include:

  1. Where do we start?
  2. How do we know if our change is successful?

Essentially, the team needs to understand and agree on the current state – including problems, opportunities and risks – and what success looks like across all impacted processes and teams. After a thoughtful assessment, Rachel recommends applying a performance management change model that includes the following components:

  • Be grounded in data. First understand how employees perceive your current performance program to determine what’s missing and possible.
  • Create an ideal future state. What do you want your employees to say about the success of future a program?
  • Design the architecture. What will the program look like based on employee and management feedback and requirements?
  • Roll-out, received feedback and adjust. Know that when you first roll-out the new program it’s not going to be ideal out of the gate. Be comfortable with your progress and make needed, ongoing adjustments.

Why Performance Management Change Now?

There are several obvious reasons for making performance management program changes: 1) the annual performance management model is ineffective for our real-time, digital business environment; 2) today’s workforce expects more real-time coaching and recognition; 3) skills gaps will continue to widen in an environment of significant disruption and growth if we don’t focus on developing talent in creative ways.   

[bctt tweet=”HR must take a broader view of talent development — a more holistic employee development experience.” username=”schoolcw”]

I recently reached out to Claire Schooley, an independent consultant and former Forrester Research analyst, about HR trends to watch in 2018. Schooley said, “HR staff must take a broader view of talent development. This means looking at a more holistic employee development experience. This includes helping employees develop the skills they need for their job but also working on career development, workplace design, recognition, learning and development, and retention. And, we must not forget well-being including employees’ physical, financial and emotional health. It’s a tall order but in today’s environment, organizations that are embracing these areas are finding greater employee engagement and longer employee retention.”

Photo source: Ross Findon