Change management initiatives: How your talent management processes can help

As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus tells us, change is central to the universe. So it’s not surprising that PWC’s 16th Annual Global CEO Survey, which identifies CEOs top concerns and priorities, is called Dealing with disruption, Adapting to survive and thrive.

Or that in their 2012 HR Competency Study, Dave Ulrich of the RBL group identifies “change champion” as one of the key competencies HR must demonstrate. And SHRM’s Elements for HR Success Competency Model includes change management as one of the key competencies for HR.

So how can HR help support change management initiatives in their organization? Look no further than your talent management processes.

Cultivate the core, leadership and job specific competencies required for change management

As part of your change management program, identify the core, leadership and even job-specific competencies that your workforce will need to excel. Then actively cultivate these in the appropriate parts of your workforce.

One of the best ways to do this is to include these competencies in job descriptions and on staff performance review forms. Doing so helps communicate the importance of the competencies to everyone, and allows managers and employees to evaluate and build strength in these areas.

Align your workforce to support change management

When you’re trying to effect a significant change in the organization, it’s vital to align everyone to support the change initiative and monitor progress. Otherwise, as is human nature, people will keep doing what they’ve always done.

An effective tool for redirecting or realigning your workforce is goal alignment and management. Start by capturing the change management goals at the highest level that they apply, and communicating them to all those affected.

Then charge affected managers and employees with creating individual goals that link directly to and support the change management goals.

For this to be truly effective, you also need a mechanism or means to verify the alignment, and then to monitor and report progress up and down the reporting chain. That’s something your performance management software should make easy. This technique works well for smaller scale changes too.

Develop your talent pool

To ensure both the short and long term success of your organizational change initiative, you need to develop broad and deep talent pools in all key areas. To do this, first identify the areas or skills key to the initiative.

Do you require particular technical knowledge or expertise? Or experience working in a specific country or geography? Would a background in a particular industry be helpful?

Identify all the key competencies required for success, as well as a complement of learning activities to develop them. Then identify all the high performing and high potential employees who are currently working in these areas, already have the knowledge, skills or experience, or who would be a good fit for the areas.

Assess these employees current demonstration of the critical competencies you’ve identified, and assign each of them appropriate development plans to help prepare them to better support the new initiative.

These are the basics behind talent pool based succession planning, but they also work well as a way to ensure the success of a change management project.

Recognize and reward change agents

Another critical talent management program that helps support change management is recognition and rewards. To engrain change in the organization, recognize and celebrate the milestones and contributions that help you get there.

This means singling out the individuals and groups who are making important contributions towards the change, and thanking them personally and publicly for their efforts and accomplishments. It means giving employees and teams positive feedback on their efforts, so as to encourage more, and foster better engagement in the initiative.

It also means ensuring your compensation programs are rewarding the right things. You may want to consider tying a portion of annual base salary increases to progress or milestones on your change management program or goals, or even instituting a bonus scheme to reward efforts and accomplishments.

Align your HR and business strategies

The bigger or more challenging the change is to implement, the more you need to align your HR strategy to support it in real and practical ways. But even smaller organizational changes can benefit from the support of HR programs.

And your talent management programs are always key to ensuring you’re building the kind of high-performing workforce you need to ensure success.

For more information on how your talent management programs can drive organizational success, read our Centers of excellence.

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