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08 Nov 2015

Change Managers must partner with HR

by Melanie Franklin

I am currently working with two organisations, both of whom wish to build an internal capability for change. They have undertaken some training courses and workshops to build a knowledge base. They are developing their own change management frameworks: one incorporating project management; one aligned to but in parallel with their project management function. So far so good, so why was I fighting a sense of disquiet this weekend?

Long dog walks give the answer

Solving problems for me involves a lot of dog walks so I have come back to London tonight very tired and the dog has a bit of a limp. But at least I know what the problem is. On both assignments HR (Human Resources Department) have not been included. I have not used the phrase excluded because this would imply a deliberate act. It’s not deliberate, their involvement has never been considered.

I cannot force my clients to include specific stakeholders but a lack of involvement from HR at the start of a new capability is bad news.

Change management is cultural

Building proficiency in change management is a cultural change. We have to create the viable structures and tangible evidence of the importance of the skill – toolkits, frameworks, training etc. But the real move towards recognising change as an important skill comes when it is referenced in the performance management system. After all, what we measure is what people interpret as important and what they pay attention to. So we have to include measures that create an environment for effective change:

  • Measuring the amount of coaching that leaders undertake
  • Measuring the number of collaborations between teams and departments that are initiated
  • Measuring the number of improvement ideas contributed by staff
  • Measuring the amount of communication that takes place with a wide range of stakeholders
  • Measuring the number of feedback loops built into processes and the number of times feedback is acted upon
  • Including specific responsibilities for identifying ideas and experimenting with new ways of working in job descriptions

What to do next

Really great change programmes establish the measures for success before they start to make change happen. Everyone is then clear about ‘what good looks like’.

In two of my current assignments the processes have come before the measures of quality. Time to sit down with HR transformation experts and turn this on its head. So at least I know what I am doing at work tomorrow!

Melanie Franklin
8th November 2015