Human Resource Executives as Change Architects

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Change is constant. Companies are continually up against forces that put pressures on them to adjust their strategies. Economic swings, technology changes, globalization, increased competition, and demographic shifts are examples of these forces. It can be a big event or, more likely, a series of small ongoing changes. The question is, how will companies best position themselves to manage change?

The unfortunate reality is that 70% of change efforts fail. The likely cause is that there was no viable strategy in place to manage the change.

In a recent webinar hosted by HCI, Judah Kurtz and Courtney Mohr from BPI Group suggest that HR executives step up as “change architects” to ensure that business objectives are aligned with the change strategy. The change architect, the person responsible for planning and overseeing the execution of a transition within an organization, must have a clear grasp of where the company is and where it is going. Kurtz and Mohr argue that HR executives are in the best position to evaluate business, organization, and people factors and determine the company’s readiness to handle change.

For change to be successful, change architects must consider the entire organizational model and how any change should impact each part of the company. Managing change is the difference between asking how “might” this change effect your business versus how “should” this change affect your business.

Change architects must conduct a stakeholder and organizational impact analysis, ensure alignment and commitment from the organization’s leaders, develop a detailed, multi-channel communications plan and foster ongoing employee engagement.

Failure to execute a solid change strategy often comes from communicating too little, failing to build technology into the plan, focusing on only a small part of the organization’s three areas (business, organization, people), and lack of detailed project management.

HR executives are in the best position not only to shape people strategies but also to develop the communications and engagement strategies that will bring the company into alignment and position it for change.