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.
As a result, the human resources department will need to be vigilant in managing human capital during a business transformation or organizational change management initiative.
Tips for Strategic Human Capital Management During Business Transformation
1. 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 business transformation can be exceptionally tricky for human resources. It’s essential that decisions are made strategically, rather than cherry-picking data that fits the views and values of leadership.
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Taking a realistic look at 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 new business processes and technology. This often takes place when selling a company or entering a strategic partnership.
2. Be Predictive and Proactive
During large-scale change, 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, human resources (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 company.
3. Create and Identify Key Roles and Responsibilities
One of the best ways to gain employee buy-in during a business transformation is to make employees a part of the project and set them up for wins early on. In other words, human resources should take time to talk to managers and identify employees that have the right skill set for working on the project team.
It’s also essential to create a change management plan for the project team. All objectives and goals should have actions attached, and each action should have a clearly identified individual who is responsible for making it happen.
4. Ensure Clear Communication
Fear of the unknown is one of the most significant barriers to a smooth business transformation. During this transitional period, clear change management communication with employees and stakeholders should be the number one priority.
The business must be transparent with employees and identify how organizational 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 and individual roles.
Throughout the transformation, communicating timelines, metrics, goals and objectives across the company ensures employee engagement and creates a culture of authenticity.
5. Create a Safe Platform for Sharing
As fear and frustration are common emotions for employees during a transformation, they’ll need a safe outlet to express themselves. Change resistance is especially prevalent during a digital business transformation, as automation efforts evoke concerns about job loss.
A key component of a human capital management strategy is advocating for employees and reassuring them that the business has their best interests at heart. In fact, human resources should create a safe platform where employees can share their concerns. Some businesses opt to use an anonymous submission platform, so employees aren’t compelled to censor themselves.
6. Be Positive and Patient
Change can have a negative effect on everyone within the business, from the C-Suite to the ground floor. As a result, HR managers will have to act as change champions, facing the project with enthusiasm and positivity. Even when there is bad news, there are ways to convey it in a way that instills hope.
One effective workforce management strategy to enact during periods of change is to reward fellow change champions. Implementing programs to recognize employees who go above and beyond during this time can be motivating for all.
7. Use Time Tracking to Avoid Burnout
During periods of business transformation, ambitious employees are more likely to burn the candle at both ends. The importance of prioritizing the health and wellness of your employees cannot be understated.
We recommend using human capital management software to enable time tracking. This will identify those at risk for burnout and reveal if there are employees available to whom you can offload certain tasks.
It’s also important to encourage employees to take time off. Mental health days and vacations can increase employees’ enthusiasm about the project by giving them time to clear their heads. By pushing for these self-care days, you improve productivity and reduce the risk of turnover and stress leave.
Time tracking can help you enforce time caps, after which an employee must 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 frontline workers in dealing with the emotions and stress of others.
8. Manage Timeline Expectations
It’s rare that a 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.
To prevent timeline overruns, HR managers should 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. In other words, you should identify the implications of a delay before employees start asking.
Successful Business Transformations
Human capital is the most important asset of any company, and management of this asset is one of the most underrated yet integral aspects of a business. With the right strategies in place, HR managers can effectively transition employees through organizational change.
Panorama’s business transformation consultants use their change management expertise to help clients achieve their organizational goals. Request a free consultation below to learn about our change management and human capital management services.
About the Author
Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart – all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver content through various niches touching the digital sphere.
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