Chief executive officers (CEOs) and other members of the C-suite predict that throughout this decade, organizations will be in a perpetual state of change.1 Change entails uncertainty. But one certainty exists in organizational change; it cannot succeed without a concerted effort. Motivating a group of employees to deliberately alter familiar ways of working can be a substantial challenge, one that HR professionals will likely find themselves tasked with more and more.
To assist HR with this challenge, APQC created a change management checklist based on its Human Capital Management (HCM) Process Classification FrameworkSM (PCF).2 Similar to the HCM PCF, the checklist is organized according to human capital management processes:
- strategizing, planning and evaluating;
- branding and recruiting;
- managing performance and training;
- rewarding and motivating;
- redeploying employees; and
- communicating and engaging.
For each HCM process, change management tasks are listed. Extensive, yet not exhaustive,3 we believe this checklist provides a solid point of reference for HR professionals embarking on the multifaceted journey of implementing organizational change. From the checklist, HR professionals can choose action items based on the scope and scale of the specific change initiative at hand. Whether they are facing an organization-wide drive to innovate or a business unit’s mandate to improve quality, HR professionals will find the checklist contains relevant reminders regarding HR’s change management responsibilities.
Strategizing, Planning and Evaluating
Once leadership has finalized an organizational change strategy, it is HR’s role to assess how HR strategy, processes and systems need to be modified to enable the workforce to meet change objectives. Within the HR function, responsibilities need to be assigned. HR process and system modifications are then planned, communicated, implemented and evaluated.
- Review change strategy and identify HR-related change requirements.
- Assign roles and accountabilities for HR aspects of change.
- Plan modifications to HR plans and systems (workforce plans, training, rewards, etc.).
- Determine HR costs associated with change.
- Establish measures for evaluating HR’s contributions to the change initiative.
- Communicate HR change strategies and plans within HR and to leadership.
- Communicate HR change plans and implementation progress to employees.
- Make modifications to HR plans and systems.
- Evaluate the outcomes of HR’s change efforts.
Branding and Recruiting
Some changes require organizations to hire new employees. In these scenarios, HR may be tasked with attracting and acquiring workers who, compared to the organization’s current employees, have different capabilities and/or reside in different geographic locales. Within the timeframe dictated by the organization’s change strategy, HR will need to align the employment brand and recruiting sources, processes and systems with new staffing objectives.
- Align the staffing plan to changes in business units’ resource needs.
- Tweak the employment brand and related communications.
- Recalibrate job descriptions.
- Amend internal/external job posting websites.
- Reconcile recruitment methods.
- Modify candidate selection tools.
- Review new hire offer practices.
- Adjust job requisition and candidate tracking systems.
Managing Performance and Training
Most organizational changes call for employees to adopt new behaviors. Employees may be asked to take on new job roles, modify how work is done and/or interact with co-workers in new ways. HR needs to assess whether employees have the skills to make these behavioral modifications. Afterward, HR is responsible for planning and implementing modifications to performance management and training programs so that skill gaps can be rectified. The content of performance plans and training curricula may require modifications. In addition, the frequency of performance discussions may be increased and the delivery modes and attendance criteria for training classes may be altered or expanded.
- Incorporate change objectives into employee performance goals.
- Align performance management procedures and systems.
- Evaluate employee performance.
- Review competency models.
- Conduct training needs analysis.
- Modify training programs.
- Recalibrate learning management systems.
- Review leadership development and succession planning criteria, content and procedures.
- Modify employee on-boarding programs.
Rewarding and Motivating
Rewards and other motivators are essential for driving desired employee behaviors and thus realizing organizational change. Large or small, change initiatives are more likely to be successful when HR reviews compensation, reward and other incentive plans for alignment with the new requirements for employee action. The types of rewards and motivators may need to be adjusted, as well as the reward delivery methods and reward frequency.
- Adjust the salary/compensation structure.
- Reshape the reward plan to incentivize desired employee behaviors.
- Tailor compensation and reward administration procedures.
- Modify employee benefits.
- Review work/life and other support programs.
- Monitor motivation and retention indicators.
Some change initiatives require revisions to the actual structure of an organization. In these instances, HR needs to take the lead in redeploying employees. This task may involve adjusting redeployment processes to accommodate an accelerated timeline for completing the redeployment process.
- Manage deployment of personnel.
Communicating and Engaging
Acting as a liaison between leadership and employees is an essential role for HR when managing change. HR is uniquely positioned to communicate leadership’s change plans in terms that resonate with the workforce and to gather and share employee feedback regarding change with business leaders. Through HR, leaders and employees can come together to successfully realize desired organizational change.
- Develop an employee communication plan to address the change initiative.
- Collect employee input related to the change initiative.
- Publish employee communications regarding change.
- Monitor employee engagement levels throughout the change process.
APQC is a member-based nonprofit and one of the leading proponents of benchmarking and best practice business research. Working with more than 500 organizations worldwide in all industries, APQC focuses on providing organizations with the information they need to work smarter, faster and with confidence. Every day we uncover the processes and practices that push organizations from good to great. Visit us at www.apqc.org and learn how you can make best practices your practices.
1 Capitalizing on Complexity: Insights from the Global Chief Executive Officer Study. IBM Institute for Business Value, 2010 and The Customer Activated Enterprise: Insights from the Global C-Suite Study. IBM Institute for Business Value, 2013.
2 For more information on the human capital management processes in APQC’s Process Classification Framework, see the article “Human Capital Management Definitions and Key Measures.”
3 For example, due to its complexity, the process of managing employee relations (health and safety, collective bargaining and labor management partnerships) is beyond the scope of this article.