Human Resource as Change Agent in Organizations

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 9814 , Published on 25 June 2013

Creating a culture of change is a challenge for any HR Manager. When it comes to being a change agent, an HR manager would look to alter human capability or organizational systems to achieve a higher degree of output. Role of an HR manager as a successful change agent in an organization is to foster business leaders who can anticipate change, analyze the environment, act decisively and collaboratively, and affirm the value of positive change.

Change is first being then doing. In order to develop change in the organization and incubate business leaders, HR managers need to be equally involved in business activities as any other department in the organization. HR managers today are strategic partners to the business in successful organizations. HR managers are teaming up with the business to develop composite leadership. HR managers at Becton Dickinson, US based $7.3 billion medical devices and technology company, are out in the market with sales team. HR managers are keen on understanding the business environment with a plan to roll out effective HR practices and recruitment process from day 1 of operations in India. A similar activity is being carried out at Hinduja Global where HR managers across delivery centres are making themselves better acquainted with operational and commercial issues. Corporates like Hindustan Uniliver, Godrej, Essar Group, Mphasis and LG Electronics have also started integrating Human Resources as strategic partners to business activities.

Change begins with understanding. As change agents, HR managers need to be “EQ smart”—perceptive, intuitive, and reflective—as well as IQ smart to be effective. When bringing about any change in the organization, it is expected to encounter resistance. As change agents, understanding the Emotional Quotient of the employees the HR managers can anticipate the level of resistance for any kind of change and being IQ smart, they can formulate framework to bring about change with minimum resistance. The HR manager needs to constantly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the framework in bringing about acceptance to change. Several organizations acknowledge major cause of failure to bring about change is lack of understanding of the power of the collective human system to obstruct the progress of initiatives. HCL Technologies has established Organizational Change Management Services as a part of its Enterprise Transformational Group which helps its clients to adapt to changes in short term and sustain change in long term.

It is not only the individuals but also the organizations that need to change. In absence of organizational change management, organization as a whole may find mere sustenance of existence difficult. Change in organisations covers a vast field of business activity, generally aimed at improving performance and productivity through growth, innovation and skills development; through shifts in assets, resources or market shares, or a combination of more changes. HR managers can look to bring about change in the organizational structure by Lewin’s three steps of organizational change: unfreeze, change, and refreeze. Unfreezing is related to creating willingness and motivation for change through anticipating the future and analyzing the possibilities of change, change means seeing things differently and acting to move toward a more desired state, and refreezing establishes new ways to affirm the change and secure the new desired structure.

For any organization looking to bring about culture of change, Human Resources Department is best placed to bring in employee management, engagement, motivation and commitment. Hence, HR managers have the strategic ability to be the change agent for successful organizations by incorporating change in its own functioning, developing change leaders in organization, anticipating resistance, planning accordingly to develop sustainable change culture and bringing in change in organizational structure.

The article has been authored by Varun Arora, LBSIM 


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