Human Resources: Change Management -- HR Department Gets No Respect
Genuine departmental change requires changing the system as well as the symptoms. This would be accomplished by understanding where the HR Department is at this time and where it should be a year from now. A return to the fundamentals of Human Resources is vital to drawing up a successful plan, as is acceptance of change in phases through teamwork. This collaborative approach should optimize the success of meaningful, enduring change in the Human Resources Department.
18-Month Plan of Action to Make the HR Department Productive and Respected by March 3, 2015
Clearly, the current state of the HR Department is poor and its reputation within the company is understandably just as poor. Consequently, there is a need for significant change within the HR Department. A Human Resources director knows from education and experience that superficial change will not take root and last. The true changes must occur within the system -- the Core, Identity and Beliefs of the organization -- in order to change the symptoms, which are the Capabilities, Behaviors and Environment (Jones, Aguirre, & Calderone, 2004; Comaford, 2013, p. 138). Thinking of the organization as a series of concentric circles with inmost circle being Core/Culture and moving outward: Core/Culture is what the HR Department is, what it stands for and what will remain if everything else is stripped away (Comaford, 2013, p. 142); Identity is the "collection of beliefs about ourselves" and/or what stakeholders believe about the HR Department (Comaford, 2013, p. 141); Beliefs are the HR Department's understanding about how the world (or organization) operates and where we fit in that schema (Comaford, 2013, p. 141); Capabilities are the skill sets in the HR Department and the acquisition of new skill sets to perform our functions (Comaford, 2013, p. 141); Behavior is our pattern(s) of acts and omissions in our work as HR professionals within the company (Comaford, 2013, pp. 140-1); Environment is the literal physical and emotional atmosphere within the HR Department and in the company's larger atmosphere (Comaford, 2013, pp. 139-140). By addressing these factors and changing from Core/Culture outward, lasting change is possible.
In order to change those attributes, a great deal of groundwork must be done -- beginning today - before even consulting other HR members because one would first need to understand exactly where we are (Comaford, 2013, p. 143). Consequently, one would have to gather a lot of information about where the HR Department is internally and within the company (Maurer, 2010). Some of the "bad news" is already known from comments contained in the assignment; however, further information can be obtained without even mentioning change by actually getting the donuts, delivering them and having coffee and donuts with workers and getting to know them and their ideas (Maurer, 2010). These workers would include the 4 HR coworkers and the other company employees accessible through coffee and donuts. After getting a rough idea of the perceptions of HR inside and outside the HR Department, I would issue anonymous surveys to the company as a whole and ask for their opinions about the HR Department's "programs, responsiveness and value" to the company (Maurer, 2010). In addition to informal discussions and anonymous surveys, I would make ongoing observations about the separate HR workers without ever mentioning change (Maurer, 2010). I would then use all the information gathered from these sources to literally outline the existing Core, Identity, Beliefs, Capabilities, Behaviors and Environment of the HR Department. These steps can be accomplished by April 1, 2014.
After assessing the current state of the HR Department internally and within the company, I would determine where I would like the HR Department to be by March 3, 2015 (Comaford, 2013, p. 143). In that sense, I would have to review the functions fulfilled by a good Human Resources Department. This seems to be a mid-size business (even if each employee gets 2 of the 900 donuts, there would be 450 employees). Fulfilling its functions for those 450 -- 900 employees, a good HR Department should: increase the company's understanding of the importance of human capital; curb spending through negotiations about health care coverage, realistic wages and benefits, and identifying trends about all those aspects; enhance positive relationships and resolve conflicts; needs assessments, training and development of the company's workforce; increasing and maintaining employee satisfaction; developing a thorough but constantly streamlined employee recruitment and selection process; monitoring, improving and properly assigning employee performance; identifying and enhancing leadership potential in employees to assist the company's stability and success; enhancing the company's image by skilled recruitment, selection and retention of the most talented employees possible; ensuring that all employees adopt the company's philosophy and principles (Mayhew, 2014). Given those basic ideal traits, by April 15, 2014, I will draw up the best possible version of our HR Department as of March 3, 2015.
After determining where the HR Department is as of March 3, 2014 and where I want it to be by March 3, 2015, I will draw up a plan to "get from here to there" in each of those 10 areas. This plan will be devised by May 1, 2014. Even when devising this plan, its evolution is anticipated through others' contributions. The proposed plan will be submitted to my 4 HR coworkers on May 7, 2014. I anticipate roughly 5 phases of change with my 4 HR coworkers: resistance; mockery; usefulness; habitual; and new standard (Comaford, 2013, p. 147). Rather than resisting these 5 phases, I will embrace them as logical steps in a significant change.
Resistance to my plan is expected; I am aware that my HR coworkers will be concerned with such issues as the plan's effects on their current work, future prospects, value to the organization and possible desire for a job elsewhere (Changing Minds, n.d.). However, by speaking directly and clearly about those concerns while stressing that secure aspects of the organization will remain the same "with exceptions," the change is likelier to be accepted for consideration. Mockery is welcomed: by our next meeting on May 14, 2014, I want their input on what is wrong with the plan, acknowledge the issues they have introduced and ask for their assistance in fixing the problems. At this time, I will also request and obtain their pledge of agreement and support for the revised plan. In order to effectively obtain this input, one must "speak to the individual" honestly and explicitly (Jones, Aguirre, & Calderone, 2004). By June 1, 2014, I will redraw a second version of the plan and meet with my 4 coworkers again. At this point, I expect Usefulness, which is revising the plan by having them review it with me, acknowledge what is useful and alter the plan with their input. Usefulness is possibly the most important step in the change process, not only because of their valuable ideas but also because it is vital that they perceive the process as fair (Changing Minds, n.d.). This first wave of Usefulness should be completed by July 1, 2014. At that point, I will present them with our team-plan and get them to renew their pledge of agreement and support for the plan with their revisions (Maurer, 2010). Since there will probably be additional thoughts on our plan, I will again expect Usefulness, in which we review, work through and alter the plan as a team. I will then revise the plan a second time and meet with the HR team again on August 1, 2014. I will again get them to renew their pledge of agreement and support. I am willing to undergo the Usefulness aspect of this process as often as necessary to obtain a plan that is acceptable and inspirational to all members of the HR Department team. I will be optimistic and assume the Usefulness aspect will be completed by September 1, 2014.
When the revised plan is finalized, I will prepare a handout with guidelines for the HR Department change. This handout should be completed by September 15, 2014 and given to all 4 of my HR coworkers. At that point, I will expect the plan to become Habitual, meaning the team members will repeatedly use the outlined behaviors in the plan to the point at which the behaviors become nearly automatic (Comaford, 2013, p. 147). Certainly, the team will encounter initial resistance from the larger company community, taking months of focused effort on the team's part. I anticipate company-wide resistance from September 15, 2014 until at least January 1, 2015. However, the HR Department will have weekly team meetings to discuss the company-wide reactions and possible even revise the plan to address those reactions. Eventually, these habitual steps and meetings should result in a New Standard in which the desired behavior is integrated into their actual behavior and becomes the new behavioral standard (Comaford, 2013, p. 147). Working through these 5 phases with my HR coworkers should optimize the plan's implementation as a true…