As we prepare for the return to the office and take a step back, we offer a series of 5 articles throughout the month of August focusing on 5 upcoming human-centric projects as a result of company transformation. Each of these articles is based on our study “Transformations: 5 proposals to put humans back at the hearth of the game” published last June that you can download here.
Transformation, the buzzword of the last ten years, is manifesting everywhere in enterprise, from technology to management, and almost no company is immune to it. In France, the number of organizational changes has continued to increase: in 2019, 32% of employees had experienced at least one reorganization of their department or company, compared with 25% in 2010. As a means to stand out from the crowd, companies strive to evolve faster than their competitors– transforming faster and more impactfully.
Transformations putting pressure on employees
Faced with an unstable professional environment, employees are finding themselves even more disadvantaged as the human aspect is often neglected in transformation projects. Once the target vision has been defined, there often aren’t enough funds to communicate it to teams and deploy it successfully. The women and men who experience these changes then adapt as best as they can to integrate them into their daily realities. Local managers find themselves at the forefront, and they are entrusted, without any particular training, with the task of implementing the new organization.
All this translates into the evolution of psycho-social risks. According to a DARES report, employees who have experienced a change of job, restructuring or change in work organization are nearly 1.5 times more likely to be subject to significant pace constraints and are also 1.3 times more likely to report hostile behavior in the workplace. Looking at the numbers alone, nothing seems to be able to slow down the explosion in the number of burnouts.
Nevertheless, HR has never been so well equipped to support the transformation. Over the last ten years, the function has taken up business issues to become a true strategic partner in the business. With a good understanding of change management concepts, Human Resources can take the lead in transformation projects and enable employees to fully embrace them.
Placing humans back at the heart of the transformation
In order to soothe the relationship that employees have with transformation, and thus, make it as relevant as intended, companies must engage appropriate human resources.
Change management is first and foremost an emotional process. That is, employees’ commitment to the transformation project determines its results. The initial reflex of teams to resist change is a significant obstacle that is rarely addressed by companies, despite the explosion of coverage of this subject in recent years. Enhanced training for local management would make it possible to overcome the initial difficulties encountered by these projects, first by promoting the vision behind the new evolutions, and secondly by providing individual support for employees as these evolutions take place.
In addition to these change management issues, decision-makers must resist the temptation to try to obtain the results of the changes prematurely. Too often, such an approach leads to neglecting fundamental stages of transition between the old and new models. Reducing staff numbers prematurely does not give employees the time to understand and appropriate the ambitions of the transformation project, which they suffer from more than they participate in. Successful transformation implies that the entity concerned must accept temporary overstaffing, but the investment made will enable the organization to establish itself serenely over the long term, and employees to receive real training.
As demonstrated by this assignment carried out by our teams for a major player in the beauty industry, the two keys to human and sustainable transformation are training for change and giving it time to take root. Neglecting to do, especially in this period when restructuring is likely to be precipitated, is equivalent to stripping the transformations undertaken of their meaning and therefore drastically reducing their impact.
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