#Nextchat: HR’s Role in Organizational Change


Rapid development of new business technologies and breakthrough innovations have become the new normal for organizations in the 21st century. Businesses are now more frequently encountering shifts in the global economy, changes to customer populations and fierce competition from an increasingly crowded marketplace. And when change is encountered, organizations and their employees are impacted in positive and negative ways.

To remain viable, organizations must be agile—prepared to act and change quickly as the need arises.

To deal with this rapid pace of change and innovation, it is critical for organizations and HR leadership to manage change in a way that amplifies positive outcomes and innovation.

HR can play a dual role in change management by initiating and leading the change and 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 her blog post “Organizational Change,” 2018 SHRM Young Professional Advisory Council member and HR Generalist at RW Block Consulting LLC Amanda Brunson says, “Organizational change can be difficult for employees. They want to know how the change will impact them, how soon the changes will occur, what they need to know, etc. Therefore, communication is very important during this transition. Keeping quiet will only increase the anxiety that your employees are feeling. Provide them with frequent updates, involve employees in the change, and keep a positive attitude.”

In addition, HR often coordinates meetings and communications about the change and related initiatives. Other common HR roles and responsibilities include:

  • Providing initial employee communications about changes.
  • Developing training programs.
  • Preparing informational documents.
  • Assessing readiness before the change.
  • Analyzing potential impact.

HR can also play a strategic role in change management by calculating the post-implementation return on investment. This may involve identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) to be measured as well as tracking and communicating these results.

By championing change, HR can help the organization increase buy-in, comfort and support for change across departments, thereby increasing the chances of success for change initiatives.

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on October 24 for #Nextchat with special guests, 2018 SHRM Young Professional Council members Amanda Brunson (@theHRPanda), Andrew Marcotte (@andrewpmarcotte) and Schyler Houck (@SchylerHouck). We’ll chat about how HR professionals can help their organizations manage through periods of change smoothly—and successfully.

Q1. What are the greatest challenges for HR when it comes to change management?

Q2. What’s your favorite change management model and why?

Q3. What one thing would you recommend to others as the “make or break” piece of a successful change management project?

Q4. What member of senior management is the most critical to have out in front of a change management process? Why?

Q5. A communication plan is critical to change management success. What are the key considerations for HR when preparing a change management communications plan?

Q6. How can HR best prepare and train its people managers for change? What are key considerations for their training?

Q7. What are the most frequently used methods for overcoming resistance to change? How does your organization overcome resistance to change?

Q8. What advice can you share with other HR professionals for crafting a successful change management plan? 

If you missed this chat, you can read all the tweets in the RECAP here

How to participate in an HR Twitter chat.



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