Enabling beneficial and lasting change in this accelerated environment requires sponsorship from the leadership team and sound project management to organize it in a structured way, to meet requirements such as time, quality, budget as well as managing the risks.  Furthermore, you need effective change management to manage the people side of the change, to be 6 times more likely to meet objectives, 5 times more likely to stay on schedule, 2 times more likely to stay on budget (ref. Prosci), and to anchor the change in the organization with everyone on-board.  And yet… they can’t make the change happen on their own and HR(BPs) can and should, together with the Project Manager and Change Manager, play an important role in the change management process and the anchoring phase.

Growing to an optimized business integrated HR model: one of the important levers

Today, as companies shift their business priorities once more, they need to successfully transition employees to the new normal and “must-win initiatives” are even more intensifying.  Your HRBP is definitely one of the key roles in your internal organization to support these processes (Ulrich is also right about that!).

And yes, they are already very busy with day-to-day activities, but still…  they are one of the key persons in your organization regarding change as they have a relationship of trust with your leadership team, management, sponsors and stakeholders, they are familiar with the company’s culture (culture can enable change or be a barrier to it!), they know the history of changes in your company, they have knowledge about the motivation and energy levels of your employees and so have insights on the position of people and teams on the change curve (Kubler-Ross).  In addition, they can detect whether everyone in the organization is still working towards the common goal(s). Most of the HRBPs I know are excited to work closely together with the change architect and, when the change architect’s job is finished,  to further anchor the change in the organization.

As a change architect, I see HR and HRBPs as one of the crucial stakeholders and as such involve them into the change management process from the beginning to create a long term win-win-win situation (Business-HR-Change Architect):  workshops to refine the change management strategy and plan, coaching, insights on resistance management… and to create a community of change enablers who can learn together from mistakes and successes, share experiences and support each other.  Ask your change manager to adopt this principle!

Regularly, I hear: “You have to be a subject matter expert to be able to drive the change, so why should we involve HR?”.  The expert will focus on the content and guarantee the quality of the delivered “product” and the change manager/HR will, in a complementary framework, ensure the people side of change.  In many cases, it can even be a big advantage not to be an expert in the matter but have a fresh high-level look with focus on the people, both on a collective and individual level.  Having an affinity with the matter is an advantage and don’t the HRBPs normally have affinity with their business? When HR is involved in different changes they can also help to lay the foundation for repeated success!

A “Growth Mindset” – Walk the talk!

Not all HR employees or HRBPs have the same focus, similar experiences or the same preferences.  However, it is important to develop more and more a “Growth Mindset” (Prof. Carol Dweck): eager to learn, resilient, views challenges & failures as opportunities, believes his/her true potential is unknown….   which is not only important to be able to turn the pages themselves but also to be a role model when supporting your leadership team, management and other employees.

Some easy to implement suggestions (not exhaustive) to accelerate your growth in managing “little” changes and/or working closely with your change architect!

  1. Don’t wait for the next big bang change to come, encourage your HR employees to develop themselves so that they are up to speed when the next big bang is coming and can start learning to pick up the signals of adoption or resistance!
  2. Motivate your employees to follow a tailor-made mini-change management workshop (e-learning) to get more insights in the different phases the employees are going through in change processes, to share different potential change activities and tailor them for your organization, to discover the patterns of open or hidden resistance, to deal with emotions and stress, …
  3. Basic coaching techniques is a prerequisite to support the adoption of change or embrace resistance as well as in the day-to-day business (they do not need to become professional coaches and follow a 20-days education over two years): with a tailor-made workshop with limited time, budget and effort, they will make the difference.
  4. Create a community of change enablers to boost incremental learning.
  5. When a change management process is started, contact the change manager (if he/she doesn’t contact you) to make sure your HR(BPs) are involved as from the beginning.
  6. Be aware that changes are increasingly continuous and are not necessarily considered as a change and “keep the finger on the pulse”.

Do you want to create momentum for your HRBPs/HR employees, don’t wait for tomorrow, do it now!