Managing HRIS Change Management
This article is first published in Human Resource magazine – issue 162.
Our organisation is about to deploy a new HRIS which includes Employee Self Service (ESS) and we have been told to spend a significant amount of change management. Why is this and how do I apply it?
John Kotter in his1998 article Winning at Change, found that more than 85% of organisations that undertake major transformations, such as a move to shared services or implementation of ESS, fail mainly due to a lack of change management. Organisation Change Management (OCM) is designed to help the project to successfully manage the people and organisational aspects during the migration from one state to another. While for most HR professionals OCM is not a new concept, applying it to their own technology projects is.
While many models for change exist, at a simple level, there are three phases, highlighted by William Bridges and Susan Mitchell Bridges in their 2000 article “Leading Transition: A New Model for Change”, published in Leader to Leader, that individuals experience during change.
The first phase is saying goodbye to the way things were. Secondly, there is a shifting into neutral, where people who have said goodbye are unable to immediately move forward due to uncertainty and confusion. Simply coping with the change can drain significant resources and energy. And finally, moving forward, characterised, by people beginning to adapt to the new ways. Keep in mind that any people fail to let go, or fail to see through the haze in the ‘neutral’ phase, but many are also scared of moving forward, especially in organisations that penalise mistakes.
To help individuals and organisations move through these phases, a detailed OCM plan should be developed. The objectives of the plan should be to, present a clear business case, provide clarity of the end state, develop committed stakeholders, define leadership and accountability of the change program, create a supportive environment during the change to help people move forward, provide integrated implementation plans, along with ongoing with strategies and plans to transition the change management activities to day to day business managers.
Although the OCM team will design the plan, they should not be the only people implementing the plan. You need to include the entire project team, senior stakeholders, managers and of course the employees themselves.
Furthermore, for a technology project, the OCM plan needs address how keys activities will be completed. For example, stakeholder analysis, change readiness assessments, change impact assessments on people and process to determine required actions, training development and delivery, end user support, and communicating the business reasons for change.
Finally don’t forget that your project team members will also being going through change, and some might be effectively working themselves out of a job if their roles are predominantly administrative. Therefore it is not uncommon for project team members to experience the above three phases and sometimes become stuck in phase one or two.