Managing Change in the Workplace

One of the key topics at the SHRM 2021 Annual Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, was “change” – specifically, how this fluid alteration of our personal and business life continues to be a vital part of the HR puzzle, as the industry works to fix current issues while looking ahead to innovate for the future. There was a wealth of tips, ideas, opinions an ultimately, thinking abut what's next as the industry navigates new challenges in striking the optimum balance of positive and successful workplace culture.

The Gift of Change

At the heart of change is process – how we learn to cope with transitions as it affects work and personal life. Barbara Glanz, President of Barbara Glanz Communications, focused on this theme as she discussed methods to capture the many gifts in accepting and dealing with change.

With the pandemic as the unfortunate springboard for such major upheaval in all facets of our lives over the last year, Glanz redirects a collective anger, angst and anxiety into something with a more positive, hopeful attitude about the present and future. "All change comes bearing gifts." she says

One method to embrace an often fast-changing environment is to ask yourself: “What did I learn during this pandemic?” This allows us to focus on where we found something positive amidst the mayhem.

Moreover, it’s equally as important to give yourself permission for self-care with these top tips:

  • Be gentle to yourself
  • Always be true to yourself
  • Give yourself permission to have fun
  • Watch and read things that bring you joy
  • Plan to be with people you love or want to get to know better
  • Find an exercise you enjoy

As HR leaders, we must learn how to thrive amid unrelenting change. This also means we must be open to reinventing our role.

The Radical Reinvention of Human Resources

HR departments nationwide have played a key part during the pandemic, prompting a fast-paced transformation between companies big and small.

According to Amy Hirsh Robinson, Chief People Officer at King’s Hawaiian, the shift will continue for many years to come. For now, it’s vital to ask yourself the following:

  1. Are you and your team creating value?
  2. Who would you rehire if you could do it over?
  3. Can you make the tough decision?
  4. Can you pivot quickly?
  5. Are you willing to be courageous?

Keeping in mind those questions, she noted how important it is that the time is now – to take the opportunity to embrace the disruption and try and change things. It’s especially important, as the business world balances between uncertainty and optimism, to dig into your book of ideas to make necessary changes for the better.

Evolving Your Workplace in an increasingly Digital World

Furthermore, additional changes in the workplace include learning how to humanize our culture in a digital world. Organizations and HR teams are now having to rebuild their office structure with a vast number of employees who are no longer in the office regularly, if at all.

As we move to a combination of remote, hybrid and on-premise work arrangements, where not everyone will be pleased with the outcome, Tim Sackett, President of HRU Technical Resources, explains, “It’s not your job as a HR leader to make somebody happy!”

Sackett’s emphatic comment drives the point home that it’s not about making someone happy, but rather attempting to hire happy people.

So how do we do this? In order to establish a workplace culture (when people are working from anywhere), we must uphold a shared purpose and fairness, along with transparency, conflict resolution and sense of place.

At the same time, however, as HR teams strive to better workplace culture, we still recognize that no one really has it all figured out. And, so, the work continues.

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