The world of change in business is, ironically, going through a lot of change itself – and it’s been mainly driven by the growth of technology and data.
Embracing technological advances as they happen is absolutely critical to businesses moving forward – and specifically in the world of HR.
In recent years, changes in technology and data have impacted HR professionals in two fundamental ways:
HR has become more accountable
Business and individual performance, including that of HR departments, are more exposed than ever before. Why? Technology and data go hand-in-hand, with billions of data points and trends being assessed every day. This means that every department in every business across the world is now completely exposed – information about their performance is available to whoever wants it.
The role of HR has become more all-encompassing
Because of the increasing importance of employee engagement in the workplace, the scope of HR has become invariably bigger. HR professionals are now responsible for a whole spectrum of duties, from managing an employee recognition program and choosing employee perks to job design and payroll.
Traditional change management programs used by businesses – which require a lot of bureaucracy and can often take months or even years to implement – are no longer going to work. With so much to juggle, HR departments can’t wait that long for changes to happen.
The solution? Make short, sharp, iterative changes on a continual basis.
Since you’ve got constant access to employee data, you can see, in real-time, whether or not these changes work. The world of HR needs to lead across the business when it comes to change management.
It’s all about your attitude
There are two key philosophies that HR departments need to have in place if they’re going to make changes.
1. Embrace failure First, when you’re making these short, sharp, iterative changes, it’s important to accept that failure is going to happen all the time. My failures in the business world have taught me far more than the successes because they told me what wasn’t working.
The most important thing to do is make the change in the first place – remember, you can always undo it!
2. Think inches, not yards Look for tiny, iterative changes that make positive impacts – or “inches” – rather than huge overhauls. Even if you’re only getting it right 10 percent of the time, as long as you do it frequently, this adds up to lots of successes, or “yards.”
“But we’ve always done it that way”
I hear this defense all the time when it comes to change: “We’re a successful business, we make lots of profit, we’ve been around for many years and our department runs effectively.” Usually the final response is something like, “It’s not broken – why would we need to fix it?”
But the fact is, irrespective of how well you’re doing, you can always do better. To do better, you need to frequently make changes.
Finding small ways to save valuable time, such as investing in an all-in-one employee engagement platform, optimizing payroll processes or automating paper perks enrollment can go a long way in moving your business towards greater success.
“No one is telling me there’s anything wrong”
No news is good news, right? Wrong. No news is the worst news possible in business. If people are not giving you feedback on a product or policy, what that generally means is they don’t care.
When the CEO of BlackBerry was asked if there was a point at which he felt he could see the complete demise of his company, he admitted that it was as soon as their customers stopped complaining about the poor user experience of BlackBerry mobiles. It was at this point that BlackBerry should have realized there was a problem – negative feedback is far preferable to a complete lack of interest in or engagement with the product.
Being exposed to feedback, whether positive or negative, can only help move your product or process forward.
Using a tool like employee engagement surveys, or addressing employee feedback in small, iterative ways to move the needle can help you embrace positive changes in your business.
Love change – nothing great happens without it.
Make small, sharp and iterative changes.
Fail fast, fail early and fail often.
Remember, you can always undo anything that you’ve done. You can’t undo something you’ve never done.
Rob Boland is the Group Director of Product & Client Success at Reward Gateway. He knows a ton about the rugby union and cricket, and can always be counted on to find the best places to watch the matches in London.
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