It’s been a while. Welcome back. I know having to give a secret code at the door must have thrown you, but things have changed a lot since the last visit. Came as a surprise to me initially as well. It happens…new management comes in with new ideas and a strong desire to leave their own imprint on the organization.
It started with a bit of noise in the back room, like heavy construction going on. We were told not to go back there, it was none of our concern, just that things would get better. Funny thing is, we kind of thought things were better. Not long after the construction stopped, we’d hear muffled voices, peals of laughter, but never saw anybody enter or exit the back room. Nothing from there comes to the front of the house, just the occasional change–like the new security ritual.
From John Kotter to Michael Fullan to countless others, one of the core tenets of change management is communication, transparency. If it is a change in process, then operations, engineering, and safety should be looped in. If it’s a change in record-keeping, finance and accounting should be included. Any change that impacts personnel, in which a leadership change definitely qualifies, should include HR. Open communication with an HR professional can help avoid legal pitfalls, enhance communication with employees, and open up new ideas for implementing change.
The lack of communication creates a rift between management and personnel, reducing morale and productivity, which increases turnover. It leaves the HR manager to his or her own devices, navigating by his/her own vision and code of ethics, which may diverge from leadership. Take your humble host for example. Absent a new directive, I do what I’ve always done, which means I run the risk of acting against management. Employees, realizing that HR is not part of the plan, usually deduce their diminished value. The system, in short, breaks down.
Every significant change should include a communication plan. The plan should be subjectively created.