As companies adapt to changes in markets, consumer expectations, and new regulations, they are forced to develop new strategies and change their structures. However, for those changes to be successful, the organisation’s culture needs to be in alignment with its strategy and its structure, a process that often requires a culture change. It is a belief among leaders that cultural change is too complex to be managed, or, that it takes too long to yield measurable results to make it worth dealing with. This can be good news for wiser leaders who understand that cultural change can be planned and managed which can help them score an advantage over their competition.
In order to manage cultural change, the first step is to observe and understand your organisation's culture as it is now, and, to determine which values will best align with your strategy and structure. Once you decide what your values need to be, design a Cultural Change Plan as per the below mentioned steps.
E.g. At The Grand New Delhi, the policy is simple, ‘Human’ before ‘Resource.’ We are a welfare-oriented organisation where it is believed that our strongest resource is Human Resource and we provide support at every possible touch point where we can and that is why we are very proud to have become a part of this hospitality revolution called “The Grand New Delhi.”
Why Change– The Need
Organisational change is done to enhance business processes as well as performance, but also involves changing people's behaviours to align with the new practices. People are usually comfortable with the already existing organisational culture and they do not consider anything until they are convinced there is a problem that truly needs to be addressed.
Even then, to recognize that the organisational culture is the culprit, and to take steps to change it is a challenging task. When people in an organisation realize and recognize that their current organisational culture needs to transform in order to support the organisation’s success and progress, change can occur. Organisational change is not only done to enhance business processes as well as performance but also involves changing people's behaviours to align with the new practices.
The Strategy to Change
Change is a gradual process. Effective change management requires planning. Organisations need to combine stakeholder engagement, communications and marketing, as well as training and development activities into a seamless strategy to keep the people above the productivity baseline through periods of change, measuring progress against agreed KPIs etc.
Change is inherently unsettling for people at all levels of an organisation, and, when it is on the horizon, all eyes turn to the CEO and the leadership team for strength, support, and direction. The leadership must change to challenge and motivate the rest of the institution, speaking with one voice and "walking the talk" to model the desired behaviour. At the same time, individual executive team members who go through their own personal changes need to be supported, so that they can be in agreement with each other. Executive teams that work well together, and, are aligned and committed to the direction of change, understand the culture and behaviours it intends to introduce and can model those changes themselves are best positioned for success.
In Quotes “People are usually comfortable with the already existing organisational culture and they do not consider anything until they are convinced there is a problem that truly needs to be addressed.”
As transformation programmes progress through strategy/target setting, design, and implementation, they affect different levels of the organisation. Change efforts must include plans for identifying leaders and pushing responsibility for design and implementation down through the organisation. Strategy and target setting is usually the responsibility of the leadership team and its direct reports.
Design teams drawn from the next layer of executives and senior managers are supposed to be prepared to work across silos and lead the change. The implementation relies on line managers and individual contributors. Each of these layers must have identified, trained leaders who are aligned with the company's vision, equipped to execute their specific mission, and motivated to make change happen. These change leaders must be released from their current assignments and dedicated to the work of change.
Executive leaders and HR professionals need to be great communicators during the change. They should roll out a clear, consistent message to everyone in the organisation at the same time, even across multiple sites and locations. Managers should then hold meetings with both their teams as well as have a one on one meeting with each team member. Leaders are to explain the change and why it is needed, be truthful about its benefits and challenges, listen and respond to employees' reactions and implications, and then ask and work to achieve individuals' commitment.
Cultural assessments, and other activities such as cultural audits and 360-degree feedback, may also help uncover cultural inconsistencies. Then leaders and HR professionals can eliminate the inconsistencies. For example, if customer service is a focus of the company's culture, evaluate how much time employees spend visiting customer sites, how much interaction they have with customers, what customer service training they receive and other indicators of a customer service focus.
How do you manage Change?
Change management is the process that helps people rationalize, adapt, accept and transition into newer ways of thinking and working. Assuming change management is a defined transformation, workstream, experienced change leaders and teams can then provide ongoing advisory and execution support.
HR can play a dual role in change management by initiating and leading the change as well as by serving as a facilitator for changes that other leaders and departments initiated. The HR department usually performs a variety of functions associated with the communication, implementation and tracking of major changes. Most commonly, HR professionals assist employees by serving as a point of contact for questions and concerns and by explaining any impact on staffing.
In addition, HR often coordinates meetings and communications about the change and related initiatives. By championing change, HR can help the organisation increase buy-in, comfort and support for change across departments, thereby increasing the success of change initiatives.
In Quotes “Change leaders need to be active and visible in sponsoring the change, not only at the beginning but also throughout the process. Successful change management needs to be well planned, well timed and well-integrated.”
An effective way to implement change management is to know where each stakeholder stands. To ensure seamless organisational transformation, a few things have to be kept in mind-
1. Identify your stakeholders
2. Articulate how changes will impact them
3. Anticipate their level of awareness
4. Support and influence
5. Identify potential conflicts and enablers to inform change management strategy
Organisations about to embark on a transformation should evaluate workforce readiness with assessment instruments and leader self-evaluations to identify the areas in which maximum work is needed. Effective communication promotes awareness and understanding of why the changes are necessary. Employers should communicate change-related information to employees in multiple forms (e.g., e-mails, meetings, training sessions and press releases) and from multiple sources (e.g., executive management, HR and other departments).
An organisation's customs, traditions, rituals, behavioural norms, symbols and general way of doing things are the visible manifestation of its culture; they are what one sees when walking into the organisation. The current organisational culture is usually due to factors that have worked well for the organisation in the past. Though culture emerges naturally in most organisations, strong cultures often begin with a process called "values blueprinting," which involves a candid conversation with leaders from across the organisation. Once the culture is framed, an organisation may establish a values committee that has a direct link to leadership. This group ensures that the desired culture is alive. For values blueprinting to work, organisations must first hire people who live the values, and, have the required competencies to perform the job.
Experts estimate that effective communication strategies can double employees' acceptance of change. However, companies often focus solely on tactics such as channels, messages and timing, while failing to do a contextual analysis and consider the audience. Executive leaders and HR professionals must be great communicators during the change. They are to roll out a clear, consistent message to everyone in the organisation at the same time, even across multiple sites and locations. Managers should then hold meetings with both their teams as well as meet one on one with each team member.
Whether it is the design of new services, digital transformation, or re-evaluation of the purpose of the business as a whole, brands that create a successful living business, with humans at the heart, re-wire their organisation for perpetual change. Not a one-off, but an enduring capability to keep up with the world around them.
Successful change management needs to be well planned, well timed and well-integrated. Other critical success factors include a structured, proactive approach that encompasses communication, a roadmap for the sponsors of change, training programmes that go along with the overall project, and a plan for dealing with resistance. Change leaders need to be active and visible in sponsoring the change, not only at the beginning, but also all through the process. Turning their attention to something else can send employees the wrong message that it is now a topic of limited interest to the leadership.
Is HR solely responsible for cultural change?
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