How HR can extend its legitimacy and recognition to accompany change and transformation

This is the fourth article in a series in which I share my experiences on the question “How do HR consultants become key players in supporting change and transformation? “.

Supporting change and transformation is becoming increasingly attractive and important for HR. To be able to act as a key player, recognition and legitimization of this service are necessary prerequisites. However, HR departments are often confronted with the following challenges when they seek to increase their legitimacy and recognition for these services:

  • The Business Unit that wants to lead a transformation either does not know that HR can deliver this service or only sees HR as one partner among many others (e.g. other support functions such as communication or strategy).
  • Managing change and transformation is also highly attractive for other departments. It is not uncommon for competition to arise that leads to non-productive friction:
    • Role competition: Who is in the lead? Who talks to whom and when? Who is responsible for what?
    • Competition of methods: Which principles should be adhered to? Who determines the methodology? Is the use of this methodology mandatory or voluntary?

The ingredients for top performance that deserve recognition

One achieves personal recognition by delivering top services – from the perspective of the client / customer. A client or customer wants “more” of it. The following checklist presents the necessary ingredients for the delivery of top HR services:

  • I am an expert in the business I accompany: what are its challenges? Focus points? Opportunities? Success factors? Dangers? Levers? etc.
  • I am an expert on the team I accompany: How does the team react when facing change? What does it deliver well? Where does it fall short of its potential? Which skills and attitudes are well developed? Which ones not enough? Where are the top players? etc.
  • I quickly deliver action-boosting results: What is the “so what” after the analysis? Where are the levers for change? What prerequisites must be created? Where are dangerous curves on the change route? etc.
  • I have clarity about my desired effect (which I want to achieve in the different stages of the transformation): Bringing structure in clarifying the assignment? Enabling reflection in the conception? Encourage concretization during planning? Realistic and honest assessment when measuring progress and climate? etc.
  • I am fit : see the ” 6 HR key competencies to successfully accompany transformations and changes” (previous articles, in German)

What additional ingredients do you have in mind? Which ingredients do you already have enough of? Which ones should you increase?

Shaping clever cooperation that creates legitimacy.

As already mentioned above, there are other departments in the company that claim to have a (large) piece of the pie “accompanying transformations and changes”. The good news is that this pie is much bigger than the different departments see it. Indeed, “Accompanying transformations and changes” requires a number of “must do” services such as securing sponsorship, setting goals & direction, showing the way, maintaining positive energy, learning and adjusting along the way, etc… as well as ensuring the development of new skills, the introduction of new technologies and systems, the adaptation of organizational structures and processes, the establishment of new partnerships, the development of new products or services, etc.

And this is the chance! By creating awareness of what needs to be done (“the pie is too big for my stomach – it needs more guests”) and by clarifying the different contributions, all departments get their legitimation to make their contributions.

This clarification can be initiated and guided by means of the following checklists. The first checklist covers the “shaping and leading” of the change. The second one covers “everything that needs to be done to make the change possible”. The second column of both checklists allows to record the different contributions and the responsibility for the must-services.

Must-Service in “shaping and leading” of transformation/changeWhat contributions are necessary? Who is best suited (Skills, Network, Levers, etc.) to make this contribution?
securing sponsors 
setting goals & direction 
showing the way 
maintaining positive energy 
learning and adjusting along the way 
Must-Service in creating the enabling of transformation/changeWhat contributions are necessary? Who is best suited (Skills, Network, Levers, etc.) to make this contribution?
development of new skills 
introduction of new technologies 
introduction of new systems 
adaptation of organizational structures 
adaptation of organizational processes 
establishment of new partnerships 
development of new products or services 

The clarification can take place bottom-up and with participation in the form of workshops. If this approach is not possible (or is not tolerated), the same instrument can be used to provide top-down and directive guidance.

Which way do you think is appropriate for your organization?

□ bottom-up and with participation?

□ top-down and directive?

□ A mixed form?

Please share your thoughts with me in the “Leave a comment” section below.

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