Hrm roles in change management issues

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Identify, Evaluate And Discuss Human Resource Management Roles In Change Management Issues.

Executive Summary

Change management is the process, tools and techniques to manage the people-side of change to achieve the required business outcome. Successful change addresses both the technical and the people side. Change management focus is helping individual employee make their own personal transition. The organizational viewpoint is “The Change” to how we do business; whereas the individual viewpoint is “The Change” from how one does his or her job today, to how one will do his or her job after the change is implemented.

Today, the world of human resource management is changing more rapidly than ever changing. Human resource roles in many multinational organizations are facing constant challenges as a result, of constant environmental changes. The emphasis of human resource management is adding value as organizational player, the role of the human resource department becoming more multi-dimensional in many multinational organizations. This paper context will identify and evaluate why human resource management today is taking advantage of gradual yet profound changes in the nature of the field in the current human resource management best practices, and overall human resource management policies, mission and vision.

Human Resource Management functions or roles are performed in many organizations by different functional heads independently. The most important challenge in recession period is revolutionizing of the human resource systems to identify, maintain, develop and utilize talents across the organization to their fullest capacities. An organization may claim that it has the best of the systems to identify talents across the organization.

Human resource has now a chance again to prove their value creation role in the corporate if it understands what it needs to do now. Some of the basic strategies should be followed by the corporate managers i.e. reduce administrative and establishment costs, hold large bonuses and reward payments, create participative forums for dealing with the difficult times ahead, retaining top talents should be emphasized by the human resource managers to the management and human resource managers need to network with fellow managers to find out how best to visualize the problems and try to solve them.

There are basically four distinct human resource roles classified (Kossek and Block, 2000, Pg 3.18) in the human resource activities into four distinct roles: Transactions, Translations, Transitions and Transformations. Generally, the transaction and translation roles are more focused on people and have a short-term view, whereas the transition and transformation roles are more oriented towards improvement or transformation of new processes; where organizational processes are realigned to support ‘customer' and market demands, and having a future orientation. In short, the transaction roles include human resource activities such as hiring and firing people, protecting employee's welfare, ensuring on-time pay as well as handling employee grievances. The human resource role is building an efficient infrastructure by acting as an “administrative expert” (Kossek & Block p.3.19); however, the translation role of human resource is the communication responsibilities associated with the listening and responding to employees and customer concerns, as well as explaining to and implementing the policies established by top management to the employees.

Today. the human resource role also act as an employee champion and advocate by ensuring that their views and rights are being expressed; such as communicating to employees' the human resource policy relating to matters like career opportunities, laws and legislations, business operating objectives and customer needs. Moreover, the transition role simply refers to the execution of human resource activities, policies and best practices making all necessary on-going changes to support or improve the company's business operational and strategic objectives. Typically, such role is focused on the implementation of new or revised human resource practices and long term procedural changes in the human resource policies and best practices. Lastly; the transformation role of the human resource roles acts as an agent and realigns the human resource systems to support


In today's arena the most common word we come across are recession and downturn. Therefore, organizations must make plan for recession or downturns as it does to plan for good, economic times. The management people and employees may experience anxiety around issues during an economic crisis or downturn. This assignment context identifies the possible challenges of human resource management roles in the global recession situation.

Beginning with the definition of human resource management and its roles in an organization through analyzing how the human resource activities is adding value and contribute to the organization's overall effectiveness.

Basically, change is complex and there is no single solution. Having an effective leadership is a key enabler as it provides the vision and the rationale for change in the organization. Launching a change initiative is not likely to succeed if the organization is not change-ready.

During a downturn, human resource role acts as an employee champion and advocate by ensuring that their views and rights are being expressed; such as communicating to employees' the human resource policy relating to matters like career opportunities, laws and legislations, business operating objectives and customer needs. Moreover, the transition role simply refers to the execution of human resource activities, policies and best practices making all necessary on-going changes to support or improve the company's business operational and strategic objectives. Typically, this role is focused on the implementation of new or revised human resource practices and long term procedural changes in the human resource policies and best practices. Lastly; the transformation role of the human resource roles acts as an agent and realigns the human resource systems to support massive organizational change. Other than, those above roles stated could also be categorized into administrative experts, employee champions, change agent and strategic approach respectively. It also represents a sweeping attempt to overcome the negative counter images of the personnel function and re-invent a new set of proactive roles for HR professionals (Ulrich, 1998 p.124)

Elements Of Change Management


Organizational change often presents human resource with a significant opportunity to engage in activities that impact business outcomes, as the Corporate Leadership Council teaching module provides an overview of the fundamentals of change management and the role of human resource. Such teaching module supports business organizations with the following change management fundamentals: diagnosing change-driven business problems; identifying the skills necessary to manage change; selecting the right change strategy; and overcoming barriers to change.

Corporate Cultural Change

Changing a corporate culture is an ongoing process, which takes time and requires constant monitoring. It is about transforming the organization through continuous influence and the shaping of beliefs, assumptions, values, and patterns of behavior of people towards creating a desired work environment. This Corporate Leadership Council research focuses on the challenges and solutions faced by organizations attempting to change the corporate culture. Major factors in this process in include leadership, timing, and behavior management. Once a corporate culture is in place, there are practices within the organization that act to maintain it by giving employees a set of similar experiences. For example, many of the human resource practices reinforce the organization's culture; such as the selection process, performance evaluation criteria, reward practices, training and career development activities, and promotion procedures ensure that those hired fit in with the culture, reward those who support it, and penalize those who challenge it. Three forces play a particularly important part in sustaining a culture, selection practices, the actions of top management, and socialization methods.

Alternatives Of Downsizing

For organizations to avoid possible downsizing issues, they can take the following steps as alternatives:

  • Part Time Job – Reduce or cut the number of job hours and pay employee on hourly basis to engage employee with the company, and during his free time he can do any other work for earnings.

  • Work at Home - Give access to the employees to work at home rather then coming at office. This step will reduce the operational cost of the organization.

  • Shift of Department - One business unit of the organization is not doing well, organization can shift the employees to other business unit.

  • Outsource Employees - Organization can provide outsourcing services is specialized domain so their employees can work on other company projects.

During these uncertain times, corporate will realize the importance of having competent skilled workforce which will ensure that focus stays on trainings but there may be a major reduction in training budgets. In this time any decision taken by the company impacts each individual personally rumors float around. Its top management's duty as human resource to ensure that the communication channels are kept open, transparency is maintained. We also need to ensure that accurate communication happens on time in full, instead of employees hearing things with details from the grapevine first. Adequate support from leaders and managers in terms of people management processes to find ways to keep up the motivation levels of employees. If the corporate plans are to retrench a portion of the workforce, counseling should be provided to those both employees who will be staying back but also the employees who have been asked to leave, be fair with them.

Resistance To Change

Resistance to change can be defined as an individual or group engaging in acts to block or disrupt an attempt to introduce change. Resistance itself can take many different forms from subtle undermining of change initiatives or withholding of information to active resistance, for instance through strikes.

Similarly, there are two broad types of resistance:

  1. Resistance to the content of change; for example, a specific change in technology or introduction of a particular reward system in an organization.

  2. Resistance to the process of change. It concerns the way a change is introduced rather than the object of change per se; for example, management re-structure jobs without prior consultation of affected employees.

The Strategic Roles Of Human Resource In Organizational Transformation

Human resource can and should play a key strategic role in developing and implementing organizational transition and transformation strategies. It can provide help and guidance in analysis and diagnosis, highlighting the people issues that will fundamentally affect the success of the strategy. Human resource can advise on resourcing programmes and planning and implementing the vital learning, reward, communications and involvement aspects of the process. It can anticipate people problems and deal with them before they become serious. If the programme does involve restructuring and downsizing, human resource can advise on how this should be done humanely and with the minimum disruption to people's live.

When the corporate is in turbulence zone, human resource can put its categorical best in ensuring that he guides the corporate successfully. Human resource needs to be very powerful in such situations because they not only have to maintain the people motivation level but has to increase it using non-monetary tools. There are certain points that human resource can opt for in such a situation where people are insecure about their job. Human resource can pay attention to develop the people on key skills and enhance competencies.

Human resource has to play an active role in refrain the top talents, act as a caring mother while top performers punished with being rewarded for their performances, get people aligned and developed to fight with this critical situation, develop people on cross functional skills to balance the surplus and shortage of workforce, help the corporate to raise the people performance bar, ensure the fair evaluation of people performance, play an active role in control of communication flow, pass the onus of making the corporate lean, review its minor low cost benefits and contribute to enhance the value addition per employee by maximizing employees inputs.

What Can Human Resource Do During A Downsizing?

Human resource needs to be proactive and come up with early interventions as for any organization to survive during recession; the ability to retain its best people is must. During these days, human resource people sometimes even take the harsh decision of reducing the numbers and land up at downsizing. The word downsizing is even taken as rightsizing and optimizing but we may not know or ignore the fact that neither the bad situation nor the good conditions lasts long.

The organization needs to invest in learning and development by providing appropriate learning opportunities and facilities, but the prime responsibility for learning and development rests with individuals, who will be given the guidance and support of their managers and, as necessary members of the human resource department. Develop and share the vision, belief in a desired and emerging future. Provide employees with a supportive learning environment where learning capabilities can be discovered and applied, for example, peer networks, supportive policies and systems, protected time for learning.

When the going is tough, human resource and managers to challenge the challenges and the remedy is to downsizing the dignified way. Moreover, this is the time to implement new ideas; change the Human Resource Management processes and change the procedures. All this has to be done in a way that it cuts costs and motivates people.

Human Resources Perspective And Sustaining Role

The present challenges of human resource management are corporate reorganization, sustaining company's position and growth, changing demographic workforce, knowledgeable and multi skill workforce, changing mindset of workforce, new industrial relation approach and society based corporate responsibility.

There are many more possibilities of sustaining human resource's increasing role as not only growth catalyst but sustaining business through greater employee engagement. Therefore, human resource professionals needs to tighten their belts and get ready for some challenging yet meaningful activities which will help to change the perception of human resource forever. The economic crisis is forcing to separate some employee and there is no way around. Do it, but avoid creating a panic around, in employees, in investors, in market and in country by crying loud about the recession.

Human resource's task is also great, if the human resource manager creates conducive environment through his or her professional approach in achieving productivity, with the support of all teams which is the need of the hour. Business has experienced different dynamics that pose many challenges. Human resource and enforcement authorities together strive for achieving the common goals like compliance and adherence. Human resource makes all efforts to create and sustain an employer and employee friendly atmosphere and responding to the current needs and challenges.

Human Resource's Responsibility

In today's economic melt down where job cuts, loss, pay reduction, last come first go, insecurity of employment atmosphere prevail, human resource has special responsibility to create ease environment to the affected by counseling, displaying care and concern, preparing them for multi skill task, engaging and deploying in other required areas of functions like security, crisis management team. Human resource should engage in more positive side, making and helping employees to reform, perform and transform which will ultimately make a solid impact on business.


Human Resource Management must be able to address the right kind of demands related to Human Resource functions or roles during the recession. Human Resource Management must play a highly proactive role in managing the issues of global recession by helping organization to enhance their abilities to learn and collaborates, manage diversity, ambiguity and complexity. Human Resource Management is responsible to manage the human resource of the corporate to maximize the productivity, efficiency at minimal cost and maximize profit. During this global recession, Human Resource Management is facing the many challenges and changes in organizational level, workplace and human resource department level itself. The challenges faced by Human Resource Managers effectively if proper strategies are implemented. The recession is the temporary economic climate of the business world. It will be changed through more productivity at minimal cost and maximize profit at moderate price of products in business.


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