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HR Change Management

Coping with change is the single biggest challenge facing organisations today. The pace of technology innovation, the speed of information flow, and the ability to copy, adapt, and enter new markets or implement alternatives, is now at a pace far greater than ever before. Adaptive organisations and adaptive leaders are those who will survive the next decade. It won’t all happen at once it will take time, but people at the coalface will become more influential over their outputs because you want to keep the costs down, maintain flexibility, and there will be less of them. Traditional boundaries between departments will change shape, as the growth in project-based deliverables becomes the dominant way organisations will operate.

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Significant change takes 2- 4 years to bed down, can you wait this long, is there something else you should be doing? The secret is early wins, collect the low hanging fruit, keep the faith, and keep measuring progress. Change is complex and time consuming. It is often given to HR to implement with no additional resources or skill enhancements; to be accomplished alongside the day job. Change is predominantly about people, and HR do not own the people, the whole organisation and its management do.

Change affects all organisations. It is a constant element in the world of business and if an organisation wishes to be successful then it needs to adapt readily to changes, foresee potential moves and plan for them and create a culture within the organisations that allows for successful change. The pressures for change can come from within an organisation or from outside it. Any change will affect an organisation; however, the management of the change can have a direct influence on whether these effects are positive or negative.

The rate of change today is greater than it ever has been due to technology and telecommunication

The two broad classifications of change are fundamental and fine-tuning. A fundamental change means to change the organisational structure or objectives. This can include transforming and refocusing the organisation. Fine-tuning involves implementing modest changes that improve the organisation’s performance without fundamentally changing the organisation; this can include fixing problems and modifying the procedures.

Organisational change is the process of taking the existing organisation, altering it transforming it and establishing a new or altered form of the organisation.

A Human resource manager is a person who is responsible for ensuring that employees achieve their maximum performance to fulfil the aims, goals and objectives of the organisation and its stakeholders. Hence, this is a person who belongs to a department or branch entitled ‘human resource management’.

Human resources are people, such as the staff, employees and workers that form the many parts of the organisation

As a discipline, HR management has undergone major changes in recent years. The name has altered from ‘personnel officer’ to HR management, not only this; accompanying the name change, the actual operation of HR managers has altered, especially in the treatment of their people. Previously, the image portrayed by a personnel officer was that of a ‘slave driver’ in regards to achieving the organisation’s objectives. Nowadays, the HR manager employs a ‘people oriented’ approach. I believe these changes have occurred due to the results of the studies undertaken in the Karpin report. If organisations wish to remain continually competitive, every measure to increase efficiency and effectiveness must be employed.

Human resource management is the process of managing people while they perform their tasks and duties in the organisation

The employment cycle is the entire process from selecting employees for an organisation, inducting and training them, to ultimately removing them from the organisation through retrenchment, retirement or dismissal.

Policies are written statements of the processes and procedures, rules and regulations, responsibilities and strategies that organisations follow.

Employee Participation is the process whereby employees become more actively involved in the decisions and operations of the organisation. The may include them being given greater responsibility and routine decision-making powers, the establishment of a team philosophy, the introduction of a quality management system such as TQM and greater opportunities from employee discussion with management.

Empowerment is a continuation of the concept of industrial democracy and employee involvement. Basically, it involves each employee being given responsibility for their actions and a corresponding increase in authority to make decisions that are relevant to their jobs. Empowerment differs from participative management in the reasoning behind its use. Generally, employees in an organisation will be ‘empowered’ to improve response times when they are dealing with customers. In a time of increasing competition, this greater speed is seen as giving organisations a competitive edge.

Industrial democracy is the operation of democratic principles within the business environment. It provides a framework where employees can voice their opinions and requests about such things as working conditions.

Affirmative actions are measures taken to provide equal employment opportunities for women

Enterprise bargaining is the process of negotiating wages and conditions of employment directly between employers and employees at the enterprise level. Wage increases are to be linked to increases in productivity.

Legislation is a law containing rules and regulations for a specific area of life.

1. Change occurs because of pressures; pressures placed on organisations that force it to make changes to its structure, activities, policies, behaviours, culture, methods, processes and procedures.
2. Three sources/pressures for change are technological advances and innovations, legislation and community/social changes.
3. When an organisation changes, the HRM department is affected as it is an integral component of the organisation; HRM practises must adapt to the new situation at hand just as the other components of the organisation must adhere to new conditions. Hence over the past century it has constantly been dynamic.
4. Organisational change impacts on the HR of a business. These changes occur in

a. The attitude of workplace stakeholders
b. Technology
c. Legislation

These changes have ‘ultimately’ affected the human aspect of the organisation. Because people are one of the most valuable resources in organisations, when changes occur they can be affected in a variety of ways:
· Increased or decreased involvement in the organisation
· Industrial democracy
· Deskilling
· Push to multiskilling
· Participative management
· Job rotation, enrichment and enlargement
· Empowerment
· Downsizing
· Outsourcing
· Re-engineering
· Increased use of technology
· Changes in legislation that affects workplace
· Increasing amounts of stress
· Discrimination
· Affirmative action
· Changes in employee relations

5. Technological advances and innovations have eliminated jobs which are menial and repetitive, and improve efficiency within an organisation. Not only are those tasks cheaper and more efficient, but safer and eliminate human error. In the mail industry, sorting machines have eliminated human error increasing efficiency.

HR managers must recognise new jobs and therefore new skills, the attrition of obsolete positions within the organisation, and training for employees to transfer skills to an automated process.

Australia Post automated its mail sorting process and previous sorting employees were laid off as the machine does the work of many individuals. AP would have retained some sorting employees to train them to use the new technology and retain the efficient practises of sorting mail.

6. HRM deals with the employment process in the following steps
a. Recruitment: HR managers advertise positions available externally in news papers and internally within the organisation, receive applications, short list applicants, interview them, and then
b. Select appropriate employees based on training, experience and personality.
c. New recruits are orientated and induced within the organisation by meeting their managers, colleagues and surroundings.
d. They are then trained appropriately
e. HRM managers conduct performance appraisals to ensure that goals are being achieved, to determine if any further training is required and to provide feedback between management and employees.
f. After the performance appraisal, employees can either receive discipline for poor performance and possibly be terminated, or go on and develop their career and advance.

Organisations may develop policies that examine other aspects within the organisation. Normally, there are policies that are formed as a consequence of the change processes that organisations undergo. These may include:
a. Amalgamations
b. Competition
c. Compulsory competitive tendering
d. Continuous improvement policy
e. Corporation
f. Deregulation
g. Downsizing
h. Empowerment
i. Enterprise bargaining
j. Environmental management
k. Internal competition
l. Introducing teams
m. Managing diversity
n. Multiculturalism
o. Organisational democracy
p. Participative management
q. Privatisation
r. Total quality management

Management in any organisation, when trying to create change will target eight areas for change:

· Management structure
· Corporate culture
· Objectives
· Recruiting and training
· Planning
· Tasks
· Management styles
· Capital equipment

The effects of the change will differ in each of these eight target areas. For example, management structure can become flatter or teams can be introduced into the organisations. The organisation’s objectives can also change; this may involve a refocusing from the customers to a focus on personnel. Planning changes may involve the introduction of strategic planning for long term factors where previously, it only concentrated on short term factors. Management may respond to the change in a number of ways:

· Introducing TQM, best practises management by objectives
· Changing the culture and style of management
· Changing planning objectives and tasks
· Rationalising staff
· Decentralising power and decision making
· Adopting an environment response (eg waste management)
· Work place reform and restructuring or enterprise bargaining
· Introducing capital equipment, training, or new technology
· Introducing multiskilling, job enrichment or job enlargement

Associated with the change process are inevitable feelings that are experienced by employees. These may indicated sadness, a sense of being lost, anger, depression, reflection, isolation, grief, fear, worthlessness, failure, insecurity, uncertainty, hostility, worry, confusion, apathy, and bitterness. Not only can there be all these negative feelings, but there are also moments of joy, enthusiasm and satisfaction. These feelings all impact on whether employees will improve or decline participation in the work force as a result of change.

Attitude also plays a certain role in determining a person’s response to change. The main reasons that people resist change are: loss of security or status, distrust or uncertainty, inconvenience, fear of the unknown and commitment to the ‘old ways’.

Most changes undertaken by a business will lead to changes in the attitudes and structure of the organisation either in a negative or positive way and managers will need to ensure the implementation of change is as effective as possible.

HR managers can ensure information about the change management process is shared throughout the organisation via meetings of the whole organisation or briefing managers and leaders down the hierarchy to pass on to their workers or teams as so fourth. Employees must be motivated to accept the changes, which ever they may be so the HR manager must employ persuasion techniques.

Public displays such as posters can be placed upon the walls of the organisation displaying positive aspects of the new change.

It should be noted that employees will be annoyed if they are not informed of the change before it happens, so sufficient time must be given for employees to adapt.

Managers can ensure two way communications throughout the organisation by consulting with employees through meetings, good employee relations, and having highly motivated employees. Managers need to discuss any new changes with employees, which they could hold on information and explanation sessions for their staff. Communicating can also be done through the same sort of group work however; this depends on the scale of the organisation.

In evaluating a change within in large organisation, it is important to analyse and examine the effects of the change on the existing structure and activities in the organisation

This evaluation should be view on two levels. The first level concerns the implementation itself: has the change actually been accomplished? For example, if the change was to introduce TQM to the organisation, has it been done and is it being used by all parties in a conscientious and effective manner? If not, then there has been a problem in the implementation phase and steps will need to be taken to rectify the problem.

The second level of evaluation involves determining whether the implementation has achieved the desired objective. The change must be viewed in terms of its effectiveness in address the objectives it was supposed to address. In other words, why did management want the organisation to change? Did the change achieve what it was supposed to achieve? Did the change achieve the planned and desired objectives? For examples, if the initial problem was that the introduction of TQM was to solve poor production standards, then the standards need to be check to see if the implementation has improved them.

If both have occurred then the change can be seen to be a success.

Examining the efficiency of the change is another way to evaluate the change. Efficiency is the process of using limited resources such as people, time, money and raw materials to their greatest use. Does the company use resources well or does it was them unnecessarily?

Criteria that may be used to evaluate the success of change include:
· Degree of acceptance by people within the organisation
· Level of evidence of team work
· Level of cooperation
· Degree of innovation and incentives
· Efficiency and effectiveness of production
· Degree of commitment to customer services
· Degree of cost control measures

These evaluation methods are tools that management can use to determine if the change has been a success. Management will need to devise records that will provide statistical information to enable effective evaluation. It is not enough to rely on impressions and feelings regarding the success of any change. Factual data will be needed if any evaluation is to be performed on a sound basis.

For example, if a change is implemented in an organisation, then the degree of acceptance by people in the organisation can be used as a guide as to whether the change was effective. If there are pockets of people resisting the change or mass amounts of workers opposed to the change, then it may need to be reviewed. For example, at this school a uniform policy was implemented. Most people supported or accepted it yet you still have those who are wearing white sneakers, etc.

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