Reset to leadership in companies without offices, teleworkers and with preferably digitized contact with customers

Burgos, May 14, 2021.- Leadership, agile talent strategy and change management are skills to be updated by the vast majority of CEOs. Change management has numerous definitions and strategies. The one that I liked the most recently is the following:

“Change management es the systematic approach and application of knowledge, tolls and resources to deal with change. It involves defining and adopting corporate strategies, structures, procedures and technologies to handle changes in external conditions and the business environment. Effective change management goes beyond project management and technical tasks undertaken to enact organizational changes and involves leading the “people side” of major change within an organization. The primary goal es successfully implement new processes, products and business strategies while minimizing negative outcomes”

I have read several American human resources magazines and I highlight below the analyzes that are closest to my professional criteria.

The american magazine HR, specialized in human resource management, explains in detail that in any change management in a company, communication between professionals is essential. HR magazine explains it with these arguments:

Frequent two-way communication is critical. There’s no such thing as too much communication, Brenner says, but make sure everyone—including business leaders, managers and other change champions—says the same things. 

“Everyone involved in the change, including your change champions, needs to be on the same page with messaging,” Brenner says. And communication is not just about talking; it’s also about listening. Ask employees for constructive feedback, be attentive and make sure you respond to that feedback, preferably by talking with employees. 

Because everyone has different communication styles, Brenner says she would “put notices on people’s doors, send e-mails, meet with them face to face, follow up by phone, then send them a Slack message.” 

While some might consider that overkill, it was reassuring to the employees at the mental health practices that were acquired by her company.

“Whenever someone brought something up with us, we always got back to them,” she says. “I think people really appreciated that.”

It’s also important to explain the reasons for making changes and the role of employees.

“You need to explain not only what’s happening, but why their participation is important, especially how as a company we all benefit from this,” Knight stresses. Change champions can be particularly useful in this respect, she notes.

Lara Paukovits, senior director, communication and change management, at HR consultancy Willis Towers Watson, recalls working with a client that was revamping its compensation and benefits package. Many of the employees liked things the way they were. But the HR team had the data in hand to justify why changes were necessary, she says.

“Just telling them that we are changing something doesn’t always quite work,” Paukovits says. 

HR professionals helped people see the bigger picture—for example, that the company needed to update its approach to match new, emerging needs. 

“We realize that people might not like the change for themselves, but if we can help them understand the broader picture of others in the organization or the company as a whole, we can help them work through that,” she says. 

Knight would sometimes seek out people who were most critical of the change.

“When you start asking people their opinion, they feel they have a voice—and all of a sudden they aren’t so critical,” she says. “They may even start becoming change champions.” 

Just as individuals communicate differently, so do organizations, given their unique cultures. Thanks to numerous acquisitions, Brenner’s former employer grew from five to 21 offices in just two years. Even though the same financial and operational strategy applied to each acquisition, “each company came with totally different people, different challenges and different behaviors,” she says.

For example, some health care practices were accustomed to technology and therefore required less help in learning the parent company’s electronic medical records (EMR) system. Other practices that were less tech-savvy required more onsite, hands-on training. 

In those cases, Brenner made sure to train select members of the support staff as power users so they could continue the training and support the staff long after the initial trainers left. 

Don’t forget about nonverbal communication. Knight says branding a change management project, especially by creating an interesting logo, can help employees better understand the project and the process. At Zale, she branded the technology project as “Z Vision” and created a project map similar to The Game of Life board game, including project milestones. “It helped to give the project a face,” she says.

Agile Talent Strategy is the Next Normal

For its part, the publication “Human Resources Today” has analyzed the major changes that companies have undergone in the last 12 months and the tactics that we will need to adapt:

The good news is that talent and business performance have always been intertwined. And the solution for both is intertwined. We’ve been talking for a while about how business agility is important to business success. Organizations need to be able to quickly react to changing business conditions.

Well, the same holds true for talent. Organizations should adopt an agile talent strategy that allows them to react quickly to the changes in the labor market. Here are three components to consider in developing an agile talent strategy:

Before the pandemic, working remotely was more of the exception than the rule. Then during the pandemic, remote work – specifically working from home – became the norm for many. Moving forward, organizations have the ability to create a best practice in terms of a hybrid model. The question becomes what does that hybrid model look like?

I wish there were some concrete answers to share regarding the right balance of remote and onsite work. Even the SilkRoad report notes that organizations haven’t reached consensus in this area just yet. But that doesn’t mean organizations shouldn’t consider a hybrid work environment. What it does mean is that it could take some trial and error to find the right balance for your organizational culture.

During the pandemic, 63% of employees took on new responsibilities, according to the SilkRoad report. Totally makes sense – everyone just did whatever it took to get things done. But given the statistic, it’s time for organizations to look at existing jobs. Make sure the right people are doing the right things and make any necessary adjustments to work responsibilities.

This has a cascading effect on other talent related activities. HR departments will want to reevaluate whether to buy, build, borrow, or use bots when it’s time to hire. Ideally, they should be looking at all four strategies. Managers should be provided with the training and tools to effectively manage a remote workforce. The SilkRoad report noted that over half of workers wanted more support from their employer. Finally, onboarding programs should be adapted for a hybrid work environment. If organizations want employees to be successful, they have to spend time setting employees up for that success. We all know that starts on day one.

There’s a McKinsey study that reported the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation by as much as seven years. While that can be an overwhelming statistic, it’s equally important to remember that all digital transformations are not equal in terms of results. The SilkRoad report cites that the reason digital transformations efforts often fail isn’t because of the technology but rather because organizations didn’t make the investment in people, who are responsible for executing the transformation. If we think about these three components – where we work, what we work on, and how we get things done – it’s a good reminder that organizations will need to invest in learning, training, and development to ensure ongoing business success.

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