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How to Handle Change Management for HR

Change is a constant in our fast-paced world – but it’s no less complicated because of its frequency. HR teams typically shoulder much or most of the responsibility for change management both in their own team and in the organization as a whole. These tips will help make change management for HR as seamless and effective as possible. 

Understanding Change Management for HR 

Change management is more important than ever as organizations shift their teams, roles, and goals frequently. Employees need help and support to move through these changes while still remaining committed to doing excellent work. If change is not managed properly, the result will be operational disruptions and low employee morale. 

And unfortunately, failure happens frequently. 66% of HR leaders say that their change management attempts have had mixed results or failed completely. 

While HR typically shouldn’t be solely responsible for change management, it does have a key role to play in the process. No one knows your employees better than HR, which puts that team in a strong position to optimize your change management strategy. Here are the key components HR should handle in the change management process. 

Creating a Proactive Strategy 

Change management works best when HR is involved from the beginning as the strategy is being created. HR is positioned to act as a hub between different parts of the organization, as well as a direct connection to employees, to drive effective change management

A key activity in change management for HR is analyzing the potential effects of the proposed changes on employees across the organization. And HR can also help determine ways to help employees thrive through the changes, whether that’s by offering additional training, lateral moves, adding or reducing headcount effectively and sensitively, and so on. 

Communicating Effectively 

HR is also a communication hub for the business, so they should be involved in creating a comprehensive communications plan for the upcoming changes. A good communications strategy will keep employees informed and offer as much transparency as possible during the changes. 

Change management communications can come in a variety of forms: from leaders to their teams or managers, from the organization as a whole, and from HR itself. Using a variety of methods is effective when the change being managed is a large one, like incorporating town hall meetings, emails, and small group conversations where appropriate. 

It’s hard to over-communicate with employees during times of change – so err on the side of communicating more and offering plenty of transparency. That can help employees feel they can trust HR and the organization, and will keep engagement and morale higher throughout the changes. 

Gathering and Analyzing Employee Feedback 

Change management communication shouldn’t go in one direction only – HR also needs to open communication and feedback channels with employees as well. Listening to employee feedback can help the changes take effect seamlessly, especially as employees might point out stumbling blocks HR and leaders aren’t aware of. 

Soliciting employee feedback through surveys and direct conversations is a good start, but your HR team must also be empowered to act on that feedback where possible. Employees feel more empowered and in control when they know the organization takes their opinions seriously and takes action shows their feedback matters. 

Ensuring Smooth Transitions

Change management for HR is not an easy task, but it’s an essential one. When HR helps to smooth transitions, like a group of employees moving into new internal roles or leaving the company, employees will accept and even embrace the change more quickly. 

Finding internal champions for the change can help speed up this transition as well. If HR can identify and empower employees who are cheerleaders for the changes, or trained on the new systems or tools, they can pave the way for the rest of your employees to make the transition as well. 

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