Top 5 Critical HR Priorities: #4 Managing Organizational Change

Recognize This! – Values + Strategy + Recognition = Effective Communication of Change Needs

My fourth post in a series about the Top 5 Critical HR Priorities for 2011 from the Corporate Leadership Council HR global agenda poll, continues to bring together the learnings from Priority 1, Priority 2 and Priority 3.

Priority 4 for HR in 2011: Managing Organizational Change

It’s not surprising this is a hot topic in today’s economic environment. I’ve written before about the impact of the recession (and the resulting changes in company strategy and objectives) on employee understanding of those changed objectives and what that means in their daily work. Recent research from Booz & Co. reported “56% of executives say ensuring day-to-day decisions are in line with strategy is a significant challenge.”

Getting this right is now more crucial than ever. Numerous indicators point to an improving economy and job market. Employees have more options for employment. Customer budgets are opening up. What are you doing to effectively and appropriately redirect employee energy to those projects and strategic targets you need them to hit? How are you ensuring this message is carried accurately to all global locations so no employees feel like outcasts?

Employees are more than willing to work on these priorities – if they know what they are. Commenting on results from research conducted with Gagen MacDonald, an APCO Worldwide senior executive commented:

“The large gap between employee and employer connection we’ve seen in the last two years is alarming. It’s clear from the survey results that to close this gap, CEOs and their executive teams need to have clearly defined company values aligned with their business strategy and support … and regularly communicate those values personally.

There’s no better way to do this than through strategic employee recognition in which employees are frequently recognized every time they perform in such a way that demonstrates a company value while contributing to achieving a strategic objective. This deeply ingrains in employees – in the most positive way – what it is the company needs from them to succeed.

But also never forget the power of the trend setters in your organization. Who do you think sets fashion trends? Designers? Celebrities? Wrong. It’s Pantone – the color company.

You’d likely be surprised at who the true trend setters are in your organization – the behind-the-scenes leaders others look to for how to behave, respond and perform. You can easily uncover these trend setters by strategic application of social recognition – drawing on the wisdom of crowds within your organization to find those most recognized and most appreciated. Those are the people who will carry your torch of change most effectively throughout the organization.

Are you experiencing organizational change? Has your company, team or product line shifted direction? Do you know what you should be doing now in support of change? How is that communicated?

Prior posts on 2011 Top HR Priorities
Priority 1: Improving Senior Leader Capabilities at Managing the Workforce
Priority 2: Improving Manager Capabilities at Managing Their Direct Reports
Priority 3: Engaging Employees

Derek Irvine

About Derek Irvine

The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition, he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.

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