Change is scary, especially in a business setting. From an operations standpoint, it can cause costly delays and strain the budget. From the employee standpoint, it often means extra work and fear of the unknown.
During a business transformation, HR will have to be vigilant in managing human capital and maintaining the company culture throughout the transition. Here are eight tips for human resource management during a transformation.
Prioritize Data Over Hierarchy
One of the critical components of effective human capital strategies is prioritizing data over the company hierarchy. This means implementing talent management protocols that fit the information that’s presented, not the status quo.
This aspect of a business transformation can be exceptionally tricky for human resources. It’s essential that decisions are made strategically, rather than cherry-picking data that fit the views and values of leadership. Taking a realistic look at the organizational capabilities before a transformation can be difficult. From a human capital management perspective, this might mean a more substantial change that results in restructuring and redefining roles to fit the new ecosystem. This often takes place when selling a company or entering a strategic partnership.
Be Predictive and Proactive
During a business transformation, a strategic human capital management plan should be put in place. This strategy should be proactive and predictive, using best practices in change management to prepare for the challenges ahead.
During this time, HR managers can’t afford to be reactive. With any significant transformation, there’s bound to be pushback from employees, cultural change considerations, and lots of questions. Being able to plan for these situations will help HR managers respond with calm confidence that will emanate throughout the organization.
Create and Identify Key Roles and Responsibilities
One of the best ways to get employee buy-in during a business transformation is to make them a part of the process and set them up for wins early on. HR should take time to talk to leaders throughout the organization and identify employees that have a beneficial skill set for the transformation.
It’s also essential to create and identify key roles and responsibilities. All goals and objectives should have actions attached, and each action should have a clearly identified individual who is responsible for making it happen.
While the day-to-day management of actions and tasks will be monitored by those in project management roles, this process will tightly tie into performance management. HR managers will play a key role in identifying those who excel and those who struggle during this time.
Prioritize Clear Communication
Fear of the unknown is one of the most significant barriers to a smooth business transformation. During this transitional period, clear communication with employees and stakeholders should be the number one priority.
The business must be transparent with employees and identify how these changes will affect them both in the immediate future and long-term. It should be obvious why the change is necessary and what it means for the business in regards to rewards and challenges.
Throughout the transformation, making timelines, metrics, goals, and objectives all publically accessible to the organization creates a culture of inclusion and authenticity.
Create a Safe Platform for Sharing
As fear and frustration are often driving emotions for employees during a transformation, they’ll need a safe outlet. This fear is especially prevalent during a digital strategy transformation, as automation efforts invoke concerns about job loss. A key component of human resource management is advocating for the employees and giving them reassurance that the business has their best interests at heart.
Human resources should create a safe platform where employees can share their feelings and feel listened to. Some businesses opt to use an anonymous submission platform so that employees aren’t compelled to censor themselves.
Positivity and Patience are Essential
Change can have a negative effect on everyone within the business, from the C-Suite to the ground floor. It’s a stressful period for all. HR managers will have to act as the champion for change, facing the days with enthusiasm and positivity. Even when there is bad news, there are ways to convey it to instill hope.
One effective workforce management strategy to enact during periods of change is to reward fellow champions. Acknowledge those who are embracing change with positive reinforcement. Implementing programs to nominate and reward employees who go above and beyond during this time and be motivating for all.
Use Time Tracking to Avoid Burnout
During periods of business transformation, ambitious employees are more likely to burn the candle at both ends. Those who are dedicated to making this change happen, and putting in extra hours are at risk of burnout. The importance of prioritizing the health and wellness of your employees cannot be understated.
Use time tracking throughout the organization to identify those at risk for burnout. This exercise will also indicate if there are employees available to delegate some of the tasks, which can further improve employee buy-in.
Throughout the course of the transformation, encourage employees to take time off. Mental health days and vacations can rejuvenate employees and give them time to clear their heads and get back on track. By pushing for these self-care days, you improve productivity and reduce the risk of turn-over and stress leave.
It’s estimated that $300 billion worth of productivity is lost annually due to stress in the workplace. Time tracking can help you enforce time caps, after which an employee has to take a day off to rest and reset. It’s also essential that HR managers take time for self-care, as they tend to be the front line workers in dealing with the emotions and stress of others.
Manage Timeline Expectations
It’s rare that an extensive business transformation ever goes according to the original plan. A day’s delay here or a long weekend there add up to push timelines beyond the initial expectations. This feeling of the changes dragging on can be frustrating for all involved.
HR managers will be tasked with managing timeline expectations for employees. This means identifying delays and being able to answer questions about how it will affect their workload. This is another area in which it’s essential to be proactive, rather than reactive, identifying implications of a delay before employees start asking.
Surviving Business Transformations
With the right strategies in place, HR managers can effectively get an organization through a transformation, and HR Payroll can be the most helpful tool. Human capital is the most important asset of any organization, and management of this asset is one of the most underrated yet integral aspects of a business.