Monday, October 5, 2009


I have been giving a lot of thought recently to the topic of change. It seems that most of our clients are currently going through some kind of change, like:

1) I want to take our business to the next level in terms of revenue/growth
2) I want my company to be performance driven where decisions are more data driven
3) I need to change our company's culture from _______ culture to NEW culture

As a management consultant this is fun and exciting work. But inevitably, we get to a certain point in the project and leaders/stakeholders begin asking questions such as:

1) Do we really want to do this?
2) What if our employees don't want to change?
3) What if this doesn't work?

So I then start thinking, what if you don't change what happens to your company? We often get answers like, "our competition will beat us," "we will lose market share," or "we may go out of business." So really what we need to be discussing is not how we change, because 9 times out of 10, it is vitally necessary that the change happens. We really need to have conversation on how to sustain the change.

After all the hoopla is over, the mugs have been passed out with our new mission and vision on them (little sarcasm here), how do we keep the "New Change" going?

Of course, I have a bias and feel that change is very dependent on employees carrying out that change and that HR programs and infrastructure can impact employee behavior. So, what can HR do to SUSTAIN the CHANGE?

1) Make sure you are a part of the change from day one
2) Align reward systems that incent new desired behaviors
3) Communicate what change means down to the individual level
4) Track progress over time setting clear milestones COMMUNICATE PROGRESS
5) Align performance goals to organizational goals
6) Pay for performance and mean it
7) Make sure the right people are performing the right jobs
8) Create clear career paths so individuals see where they fit today and in the future
9) Serve as a coach to leadership when they get stuck in the change effort, keep the momentum going

I know many of my readers have gone through change or are going through change right now. What else can HR do to SUSTAIN the CHANGE? (I think I need to make some T-shirts!)

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