HR professionals play an essential role in organization’s change process. Whether the change is of a more “positive” nature, such as in an expansion, or a “less than positive” nature (which is what we’re seeing more often in today’s economy) and the result of acquisition, workforce reduction or dissolution, change initiatives must be communicated well so that employees understand their role and how it relates to the company’s objectives.
HR professionals are the educators and communicators of any change plan. Employees NEED to know the details – when and why the change is taking place and how they will be affected.
Since management is going to concentrate on the business aspects of the change, it’s the job of HR to focus on the human aspects by bringing employees up to speed and keeping them informed in order to avoid misconceptions, alleviate fears and preserve morale.
HR must take these important steps:
- Strive to create an understanding among employees that management will share information as it becomes available, but that during the change process, the future may be just as uncertain for them as it is for employees.
- Work with senior management to hold employee meetings where employee questions are encouraged and management provides honest, straightforward responses.
- Present any information regarding changes in employee benefits or compensation in an easy-to-understand manner.
- It’s imperative that management maintain a high level of trust among employees. It’s HR’s responsibility to help cultivate that trust.
Organizational change is a very emotive event for all involved. It’s the role of HR to act as the organzation’s “quarterback”, facilitating communication between management and employees and successfully leading the team through the change process.