HR Tomorrow 2016: What I Learned About Organizational Change

by Jenny Kriha

I recently attended my favorite annual HR event – the HR Tomorrow Conference, hosted by the University of Minnesota. I always have high expectations for the keynote speakers, topics, and takeaways and this year didn’t disappoint. It was a great event with excellent speakers!

My two favorite topics of the conference came from a talk by Adam Holton, SVP & SHRO of CHS, Inc., and focused on organizational changes and their effect on employees.

Complacency Kills

Pause, and think about it. If we are complacent in any part of our business, particularly our culture, what happens? As a business grows, matures, and changes, complacency leads to stagnation.

Companies at the $100 million level, can’t do things the same way they did at the $10 million level. If your organization grows from 25 employees to 250 and you continue using the same accounting or payroll system, little would balance and there would likely be some significant paycheck issues.

Along the same lines, what if a $100M company had the same customer service head count or client relationship tools in place as a $10M company? What would happen? Most likely (and worst of all), the company’s relationship with clients or perspective clients would be affected. That’s not good. Complacency would kill that business or, at the very least, keep it in a constant state of underperformance.

What does this mean for your work setting? I know what it means for me in my day-to-day. If I relied on potential clients calling me or just showing up at my door, I’d be a goner. Similarly, if I didn’t keep meticulous notes in our sophisticated CRM, I’d be way off on follow-up calls and prospective client marketing. Simply stated, complacency kills. Don’t fall into the trap of complacency; strive for daily excellence in all areas of your life.

The Quality of Change

As we know, the rate of change goes up and multiplies over time. Change can be painful, create extra work, and require a lot of time to properly plan. However, without change, we become obsolete.

We can think of change as an equation: Q x A = E*. Quality x Acceptance = Effectiveness

The “quality” aspect of change makes us ask, “What are the most compelling reasons to change?” Define the reasons that make the most sense and focus on keeping those reasons positive.

Once you’ve defined your reasons for change, those changes must be clearly articulated to all levels of your organization. Clear and direct communication is the best way to ensure buy-in from all stakeholders.

When organizations align systems and structures with desired behaviors, trust falls into place, desired behaviors are set, and positive change comes.

Have you ever experienced complacency or change in the workplace? Share your story in the comments below!

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